CNN has the story of James Woodard who was exonerated for raping and murdering his girlfriend after 27 years in prison:
James Woodard is slowly returning to life. He is starting over after spending 27 years behind bars. He was wrongly imprisoned and cleared by DNA.
Routine chores are a test of endurance when the only identification card in his wallet is issued by the Texas prison system.
With his new friend, Clay Graham of the Innocence Project of Texas, serving as his guide and driver, Woodard is on the hunt for the basics of everyday life.
When he went off to prison, Ronald Reagan was president, gas was cheap, AIDS was barely on the radar and no one had a cell phone or a personal computer.
"It's sort of like waking up from a dream," Woodard said, walking through the corridors of Dallas City Hall, trying to track down his birth certificate. "When you first wake up you are first kind of groggy and then as time passes you get more coherent."
He may be free, but he doesn't have his life back yet -- or even proof of his life. He crisscrosses the city looking for the birth certificate.
I always wonder if the illusion that America doesn't sentence innocent people to prison prevents our society from developing programs for curing the injustices that do occur. CNN does a good job capturing the difficulties with Woodard's experience in rejoining society.
Speaking of exonerations, but a little off topic, you might be interested in my colleague Colin Miller's new article about a lawyer's obligation to break client confidentiality in certain circumstances to free an innocent person.