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Criminal Appellate & Post-Conviction Services

Innocence Project Wins Release of Man After 35 Years Wrongful Confinement

James Bain spent 35 years in jail after being found guilty of kidnapping and raping a nine-year-old boy in 1974. He was released from prison yesterday based on evidence conclusively showing his innocence. The Innocence Project of Florida helped co-ordinate Mr Bain's release. It says that he was imprisoned for far longer than any of the other 246 inmates exonerated by DNA evidence across the US.
Mr Bain was freed after filing several petitions asking for his case to be reviewed and DNA tests to be carried out.
According to the Florida Innocence Project, Mr. Bain’s pro se petitions were summarily denied. On his appeal to the Florida Court of Appeals, the
Florida Innocence Project intervened to assist Mr. Bain and won an order providing for the test. The test established his innocence. A second test requested by the prosecution confirmed the results. The Polk County Prosecutor and the Polk County Court stated that Mr. Bain was “simply not connected with the crime.”
Mr. Bain had been convicted mainly on the strength of the victim identifying him out of a line-up, although tests available at the time did not definitely link him to the crime, the Associated Press reported. Mr Bain said he had been watching television with his twin sister when the crime occurred.
Last year Florida passed a law that means Mr Bain is entitled to $1.75million for the time he spent in jail while innocent. Michigan does not have a similar law. Innocents wrongfully convicted of offenses in Michigan rarely receive compensation.