He looked at prison like a chess game: a thinking game that could be outsmarted.

Chris Wilson was sentenced to life in prison for murder at age 17. These days, he’s a free man who heads up two Baltimore companies and has been honored at the White House twice in the past month. He’s currently in talks with publishers to write a book about his life.

After all, his journey has all the makings of a Hollywood story: poverty, addiction, gun violence. He grew up in rough neighborhood in Washington, D.C., sandwiched between two housing projects. There were days where he’d step over dead bodies on his way to his grandmother’s house. But his life is also marked by a turnaround that’s against the odds.

A conversation with his dying grandfather early in his prison sentence instilled what he refers to as “positive delusion,” the belief that one day he’d be out in the real world, making it a better place.

“Promise me you’ll turn your life around … You can do it. Promise me you’ll try,” Wilson recalls his grandfather telling him.

Read the rest on CNN Money…


The Marshall Project has a new article written by Lorea Gillespie, an investigator with The New England Innocence Project.  She talks about what it takes to hunt down witnesses for a case 23 years old.

As I virtually pass by each house on Google Maps Street View, I grow increasingly disheartened.

I’ve been in Orlando for almost two days now, and I’m worried that I’m not going to find this witness — and this witness is huge. She’s the only person who may have seen the 1989 murder I’m working on.

I’m an investigator with The New England Innocence Project, and we believe that our client, JIMMY1, is innocent, even though he was convicted 23 years ago.

I’ve spent hours driving back and forth across this city, trying dozens of addresses. Each time, I run back to my hotel room, get on the computer, and use my locations program to find more options. I try old neighbors, old roommates, old friends — anyone I can find.

No matter who I talk to, though, no one can help me. “Yeah, so-and-so lived here about a year ago, but I don’t know where she’s at now.”

Another door closes in my face.

Read the rest here.


Phil Locke of the Ohio Innocence Project and Duke Law Wrongful Convictions Clinic on how the justice system frequently ignores guilt or innocence, Comment on the Nature and State of the (US) Justice System.

Also a great read, the story of Lorinda Swain who was recently exonerated after spending more than 7 years in jail.  She was freed 6 years after a judge said that there was a “significant probability” she was innocent.

Finally cleared, years after judge first ruled her guilt was dubious…