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10 Black Men Recently Freed After Decades of False Imprisonment

Charles Chatman

Charles Chatman

In 1981, after a Dallas woman was reportedly raped in her house, she picked 20-year-old Charles Chatman, who lived down the street from her, out of a lineup.

Soon thereafter, Chatman was charged and convicted of rape and was sentenced to 99 years in prison. He maintained he was an innocent man and said the victim misidentified him as the culprit. He went to the parole board three times but according to sources, was denied every time because he refused to admit guilt to the crime.

However, after years of struggling to get a DNA test, the court finally allowed him to do it in 2007. In 2008, the DNA exculpated him in the rape. Chatman was officially exonerated on February 26, 2008, after spending 27-years in  prison.

As of 2012, Chatman had received $2,417,845 in state compensation.


James Bain

James Bain

In 1974, at the young age of 18, James Bain was arrested and later convicted of breaking and entering, kidnapping, and raping a nine-year-old boy. He was sentenced to life in prison.

The victim told police that his assailant appeared to have been 17 or 18 years old, had a mustache and bushy sideburns and his name was “Jim” or “Jimmy.” The victim’s uncle, who was an assistant principle, thought the description sounded a lot like a student at his school, “Jimmy Bain.”  The boy picked Bain out of a photo lineup that included one other man with bushy sideburns. There were lingering questions about whether detectives steered him.

A jury convicted Bain after rejecting his story that he was home watching TV with his twin sister when the crime was committed, an alibi she repeated at a news conference right before his release.

After spending 35 years in prison, the court agreed to do DNA testing, which proved that Bain couldn’t have committed the rape. The state vacated his sentenced and at 54 years old, he found himself a free man.

Bain spent more time in prison for a crime he did not commit than any other American exonerated through DNA evidence.  Until his conviction, he’d never had more than a few parking tickets.

The state of Florida awarded Bain a paltry $50,000 for each year he was incarcerated, which totaled $1.75 million.



What people are saying

39 thoughts on “10 Black Men Recently Freed After Decades of False Imprisonment

  1. Ewiv Beaubeau Eshahb says:

    damn that is some fucked up shit…brought a tear to my eye…

  2. What happened to the so called victim, hopefully she's dead by now

  3. A Man's Life was taken from him, mentally, physically, emotionally, & spiritally, with no resources, job, or a roof over his head, all because of a damn lie. & the lier is probably somewhere living happily ever after, wheb she should be sentence for for false accusations amongst many other charges. No amount of money can make up for the years he lost, the tears he cried, or the pain & suffering he endured for 27 yrs of his life… Yes he's a free Man as far as nit being incarcerated, but his mind & soul will forever be imprisoned for the lack there of…. Charles Chapman I Pray that You fine Peace within & that one day justice will catch up with the perpetrator who stole Your Freedom… PEACE

  4. This is the most incredibly sad thing I've read in a while. Justice…huh…

  5. Yeah those Roman soldiers don't do no investigation they think all Asiatics are guilty of whatever they are accused of its crazy. All they are trying to do is elimate one from their environment, population control as they see fit. Man it is crazy than ever but that's how they designed this corrupt system that was founded on murder.

  6. Tony Warren says:

    If a person claims they are innocent and there is dna evidence, why not test them right away?

  7. Helen Marie Green says:

    all i can say is this is a " damn shame " this man had to endure these years in prison…..there is nothing that can give him back the lost years of his life…i cannot only imagine being incarcerated….and almost having no " hope " when you know you are innocent….they really need to do something to individuals who lie like this woman did…..i do not understand …how anyone can rest …after telling a lie and ruining someone's life …god keep watch over this man…amen !!

  8. Joey Range says:


  9. Stephen Szabadi says:

    always always always plead the 5th

  10. what happon to the woman that sade he did it I no it wos nothing done the thing that is don'n to the black me it not right but we as a people have to move on

  11. Do anybody have an idea of how many Texas cases follow this same exact pattern. Worst, many people have went to their death on this flimsy evidence from Texas DNA laboratories.

    March 11, 2003

    Worst Crime Lab in the Country
    Or is Houston Typical?
    When Josiah Sutton went on trial for rape in 1999, prosecutors in Houston had little to build a case on. The victim was the only eyewitness, and her recollection was faulty. But they did have the rapist's DNA, and technicians from the Houston police crime laboratory told the jury that it was a solid match.
    That was enough to persuade the jurors to convict Mr. Sutton and send him to prison for 25 years.
    But new testing has conclusively demonstrated that the DNA was not Mr. Sutton's, the Houston Police Department said yesterday.
    The Houston police have turned over some 525 case files involving DNA testing to the Harris County district attorney's office, which has said that at least 25 cases warrant retesting, including those of seven people on death row. Both numbers will grow significantly as more files are collected and analyzed, Marie Munier, the assistant district attorney supervising the project, said.

  12. D Oliver Martin says:

    The quotation " beyond a shadow of doubt", must be cannonized into law!!!, "if there is DNA evidence, IT MUST… be tested ASAP… DONT deny people the opportunity for a fair trial. Drug testing in sport involve taking two samples, why not a muder or serious grime involving sexual assual ??
    The answer lies in the voting booth, no DA wants to seen as "soft on crime", when an election is in the offings.Black men lives are considered disposable, or collateral damage, we are not considered to be human…what will they say to OUR/THEIR maker when it that time…have mercy on their souls .

  13. D Oliver Martin says:

    The quotation " beyond a shadow of doubt", must be cannonized into law!!!, "if there is DNA evidence, IT MUST… be tested ASAP… DONT deny people the opportunity for a fair trial. Drug testing in sport involve taking two samples, why not a muder or serious grime involving sexual assual ??
    The answer lies in the voting booth, no DA wants to seen as "soft on crime", when an election is in the offings.Black men lives are considered disposable, or collateral damage, we are not considered to be human…what will they say to OUR/THEIR maker when it that time…have mercy on their souls .

  14. Thank you, my feelings exactly

  15. ain't that the truth

  16. no not move on , we must UNITE

  17. Thank You Rommel! We're Living In Modern Days Slavery All Day!!! Peace…

  18. Erika Zauzig says:

    This horror happens to people of all races. All of society must unite to stop all of these wrongful convictions. Overzealous prosecutors and detectives need to get a grip on their false pride and admit when they are wrong.

  19. Doris Baker says:


  20. 10 men falsely accused and convicted served decades in prison. One is too many, now how many innocents have we executed?

  21. Man, each and every story is truly heart breaking.

  22. There are so many more. We need to change the system because it's not working.

  23. THESE PEOPLE AND THEIR SYSTEM HAS TO GO ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

  24. Check out work by Bryan Stevenson, founder of The Equal Justice Initiative.
    Also Michelle Alexander's "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration In the age of Colorblindness.
    The new enhanced prison industrial complex is gearing up to incarcerate more people, especially men and women of color using school-to-prison and wrongful conviction strategies. Fore-warned is fore-armed!

  25. Harriet Garner, I am familiar with the work but thank you very much for the recommendation. I see it as a validation. The more of us involved the better our chances at creating a brighter future.

  26. Charlotte Williams says:

    @ Cheryl Keepthefaith WilsonRussom · – While I agree with most of what you have to say, I part ways with you when you jump to the conclusion that the rape victim outright lied when she misidentified Mr. Chatman when she picked out his picture from a police photo spread. We have read of cases where a woman recants years later saying she was never raped, however, we cannot assume that a lie is the case in each case of rape whenever someone is fully exonerated of the crime.

    Based on the brief synopsis of this case, all we know is that a mistake was made many years ago when a victim of rape picked the wrong man from a police photo spread. What led you to jump to the conclusion that the rape charge was a lie? maybe I missed something. Was it the fact that the victim picked the wrong person in this case? If yes, then your reasoning is flawed.

    You say the woman probably went on to "live a happy life." I doubt that a victim of rape went on to "live a happy life" as you say. Although I will say that the asshole who raped her may have, especially knowing he had escaped a big one because someone else (Mr. Chapman) was falsely accused and later wrongfully convicted for his crime, Yeah, he may have went on to live "a happy life" for a while.

    My bet is that there was probably plenty of police and prosecutorial misconduct during the investigation and trial and that is what helped to seal Mr. Chatman's wrongful guilty verdict..They probably sat on exculpable evidence that could have provided relief well before the start of the trial; it wouldn't surprise me. They are the ones who most likely went on to live "happy lives."

    In the meantime, the guilty one continued to walk among us, though it is possible he might have been eventually picked up on a rape charge, which could have interrupted his "happy life." With the exception of the rape victim, the rapist created the opening scenes for Mr. Chapman's nightmare. Police and prosecutors most likely helped to make Mr. Chapman's nightmare a reality when he got tossed into the belly of the beast while being an innocent man.

    Rape is real and should never be minimized.

  27. Charlotte Williams says:

    Ángelo Romeo Martínez – You're right; "there are so many more."

  28. Charlotte Williams says:

    @ Stephen Szabadi- Poor advice.

  29. Sharon A. Joseph – it's also, to a point, the fact that white people have trouble distinguishing faces of non-white races from one another (the study I read did not show how various other racial groups reacted to racial groups outside their own – it would be interesting to see how media representation plays into it…); to many white people, one African-American man looks more or less just like another. This, coupled with the risk of false IDs in current line-ups (especially if/when officers pressure witnesses to make an ID) leads to large numbers of false identifications… yes, this is systemic racism, but it's interesting to know the reasons why so we can try to address the reasons…

  30. PopStyle GemGem says:

    Cheryl I agree with you in terms of EVERYTHING you said except for the liar living happily ever after. I doubt RAPE victims live happy lives after the account! What needs to stop is line ups. It's proven that they are UNRELIABLE especially when a traumatized victim is being forced to make a decision.

  31. sCharlotte & Popstyle I respect your comments/opinions. You both are right, sometimed due to anger can be ssaid & viewed in the wrong way. I apologize if I said anything, that may hurt or disrespect anyone. Still I stand on my belief. This Man have lost everything, on a Lie, be it she was too traumatized to focus on who she thought was the rapist or not. He paid the ultimate price, & he too is a victim!!!! Thanks for your input. Peace

  32. Benjamin Cooley Hall says:

    This is insane. The inner strength of these men to last all these years and emerge now is mind-boggling. I cannot imagine it. I am in awe of them. I also am outraged by the systems that allowed errors with such grave consequences to be made (if not deliberately perpetrated). And Judge Scheindlin's overturning of the jury's decision to award Mr. Newton financial compensation is outrageous, and shows a failure on the judge's part to even remotely appreciate the injustice that was perpetrated on Mr. Newton. That it was not deliberate is completely irrelevant.

  33. All this was happen when WHITE PEOPLE hated BLACK

  34. Kerrian Hall says:

    Because the prison system is a money making machine for the government. So, if they can put someone in they will. Thats why they supress evidence and won't test DNA right away. They get really cheap labor…we really are living in modern slavery!

  35. That's what I'm saying!!

  36. Frederick Gloede says:

    All these prosecutors are so hell bent for looking "tough on crime" they let things like actual evidence be ignored.

  37. Sundiata Keita says:

    i knew her name looked familiar. thats the same broad that overturned stop and frisk, Shira Scheindlin. those jews are dirty man.

  38. Sundiata Keita says:

    prison stock. the more niggas they put in jail, the more all of them can make. the judge, DA, lawyer, scientists, guards. all they gotta do is buy some prison stocks and fuck niggas over and slowly get wealthy.

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