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Life After Prison Good for Man Exonerated by DNA Evidence

The stories that continue to come out of the efforts of The Innocence Project are amazing and inspiring. James Bain was released from a Florida prison in December 2009 after serving 35 years in prison for a crime DNA later proved he didn't commit. He had been incarcerated since 1974 when he was just 19 years old.

Bain was convicted in Polk County of kidnapping and raping a nine-year-old boy in Lake Wales. The victim described the perpetrator and the victim's uncle said the description matched James Bain. The victim was then presented with a photo lineup from which he identified Bain as the perpetrator. He would later say in a deposition that he had been asked to "pick out Jimmie Bain."

Bain sought DNA testing several times on appeal. Those requests were denied in 2001, 2003 and 2006. The Innocence Project of Florida took on his case and obtained DNA testing on evidence from the crime scene. The results of that testing confirmed that Bain was not the rapist and the man who went to prison at 19 was released at the age of 54.

A year and a half later, Bain is finally receiving compensation from the state for his wrongful imprisonment. Bain will receive $50,000 a year for every year he spent behind bars, totaling more than $1.7 million.

Bain told a local newspaper that you can't put a price tag on what he's been through. He has purchased a house and an SUV, though he's still adjusting to driving. He is engaged to be married this fall and will gain a step-daughter as well as a wife.

Bain was the 248th person exonerated through DNA evidence in the United States.

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  • American inns of court
  • norml
  • National association of criminal defense lawyers
  • Clearwater bar association
  • Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

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