After spending 35 years in prison for a rape that he didn’t commit, James Bain was finally released Thursday morning.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, Bain made five requests for DNA testing before a judge granted his motion. The testing eventually cleared him of the crime.
Obviously, the state of Florida owes Bain a debt that can never be repaid:
Bain shed his button-down plaid shirt for a black T-shirt that read “Not Guilty” before walking outside to address the crowd. Someone handed him a cell phone — the first time he has ever used one, he said.
“I’m going to see my mama,” he told the crowd. “I just got off the phone with her.”
Family members were emotional after the hearing. A sister wept and could barely talk. A brother-in-law, who was a boyhood friend of Bain’s, was excited.
“I haven’t seen him since he was 16,” Jessie Atmore said. “It’s been a long, long time.
… Bain said he has a lot to catch up on, including his education. He’s not angry, he said, “because I got God in my hands.”
You know, people often refer to any time spent in prison as “hard time.” Well, I can only imagine that spending nearly two-thirds of your life in prison for a crime that you didn’t commit would be the hardest time of all.
How does someone get past this kind of injustice? How does someone stomach having their life taken from them in such a way? How does it feel to be innocent but nevertheless branded a criminal (a convicted child sexual predator, at that)? How does someone maintain even the faintest sliver of hope in such bleak circumstances?
And how do you even begin to start life, basically all over again, at 54?
Is it OK to be angry for him?