Birthdays at Innocence Matters

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Suzy's 60th!On July 18, Suzy Mellen turned 60!  She celebrated her first birthday in 17 years as a free woman with her daughters, her grandchild, many other family members and close friends!  17 YEARS! THIS GENTLE SOUL SPENT LOCKED AWAY!

Suzy was freed on October 10, 2014 (my birthday) October 10! [Thunder thief ;-)]  There is just no legitimate justification for the pain and suffering Suzy and her family endured.  The WINN-at all-cost prosecution was always indefensible.

Suzy and her family are determined to live in the joy of the moment and there was no amount of rain that could dampen their celebration of this special day!  I was honored to have a front row seat at the party!

OurBaby

Soon we’ll be celebrating the August babies in our lives. There’s this little guy (now slightly bigger), born August 24, 1975, who will soon celebrate his 40th birthday after almost 3 years of freedom and 19 years of wrongful incarceration!  Our “baby” (and first exoneree) John Smith, was freed on September 24, 2012 after 19 years imprisonment for a crime he did not commit!  19 YEARS WERE STOLEN FROM JOHN!

As important as John’s birthday is, though, it will undoubtedly take a backseat to that of his first child’s expected arrival on August 4, 2015.  Our first Innocence Matters (newborn) baby!!!  We’re all so excited!  May John’s son never know the pain his father has suffered.

Today, July 22, 2015, however, is probably Innocence Matters most important birthday of the year–John Klene turned 37 today.  There were no cakes or candles or hats.  No off-key rendition of happy birthday.  You see, John still sits in a prison cell, ironically at a prison called “Pleasant Valley,” serving time for somebody else’s crime.  John spent the past 18 years away from his family and friends, surrounded by actual criminals!  18 YEARS OF WRONGFUL INCARCERATION AND NOBODY EXCEPT JOHN, HIS FAMILY AND THE FOLKS AT INNOCENCE MATTERS SEEMS TO BE LOSING SLEEP ABOUT IT!

We saw John today.  When reminded of his birthday, we felt sad.  It’s hard to know how to celebrate the birthday of an innocent person yet to be freed. Oh for sure, we’ve got his gift all picked out–the same one we give all our clients–FREEDOM.  We’re just stuck sorting out the delivery schedule.  Hang in there buddy, it WILL happen.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO JOHN KLENE AND ALL THE INNOCENT WAITING THEIR TURN — JAMES, MICHELE, ANDY, DON, ART, RASHEEDAH, ALPHONSO, TRICIA TO NAME BUT A FEW!  Looking forward to the party on the other side!

 

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