James Bain used a cell phone for the first time Thursday, calling his elderly mother to tell her he had been freed after 35 years behind bars for a crime he did not commit.
Mobile devices didn't exist in 1974, the year he was sentenced to life in prison for kidnapping a 9-year-old boy and raping him in a nearby field.
Neither did the sophisticated DNA testing that officials more recently used to determine he could not have been the rapist.
"Nothing can replace the years Jamie has lost," said Seth Miller, a lawyer for the Florida Innocence Project, which helped Bain win freedom. "Today is a day of renewal."
A new record:
Bain spent more time in prison than any of the 246 inmates previously exonerated by DNA evidence nationwide, according to the project. The longest-serving before him was James Lee Woodard of Dallas, who was released last year after spending more than 27 years in prison for a murder he did not commit.
Again, imagine all the cases out there in which no evidence that can be tested for DNA was collected.
You know, the state innocence projects (where they exist) and the national innocence project are all underfunded and understaffed. Why don't you forgo whatever expensive thing you were thinking about buying for Xmas and make a difference with that money instead? Contribute to the Florida Innocence here, the Pennsylvania Innocence Project here, and the national Innocence Project here.