Wrongful convictions are certainly a multi-layered issue within the black community, with exonerated former inmates having to start over in a system doubly stacked up against them since general hiring discrimination exists.
Meet Lamonte McIntyre, who was recently exonerated after spending 23 years in prison, according to KSHB. McIntyre was 17-years-old at the time when he was charged with double murder, in connection with the deaths of Doniel Quinn and Donald Ewing in 1994. McIntyre was convicted and given two life sentences despite prosecutors having no physical evidence, weapon or motive.
McIntyre always knew the truth would come out, but wasn't expecting his freedom to come so fast. His case was dropped after only two days of reviewing forensic evidence during last week's hearing. “I wasn't expecting that,” McIntyre said. “I figured it was coming soon because the truth is what the truth is. I never expected that day.”
“First day out, I celebrate it with my family I was able to breathe and relax,” said McIntyre after he got to spend a weekend with his family. “That felt nice. So much tension in a place, having this burden on you. I was able to relax just enjoy my family.”
KSHB later reported that in addition to McIntyre suffering from lost time, he won't be getting compensated for the mishap. Kansas is one of 18 states that doesn't offer any financial or social support to wrongfully convicted people.
Now 42-years-old, McIntyre is truly starting his newly freed life from scratch, as he has no work experience and thus, no resume.
"We are stealing a part of their lives and they are not guilty of what they've done. And they should have more than an apology from the state," said Democratic Kansas State Sen. David Haley, who has attempted to push two failed bills calling for the wrongfully convicted to be compensated.
The Senate Judiciary Committee presented Senate Bill 15 last year, which would've compensated the wrongfully convicted with $80,000 for each year they were wrongfully incarcerated. Kansas Judicial Council executive director Nancy Strouse has confirmed that they will begin researching other states to possibly find a solution that best suits Kansas.
A fundraiser for McIntyre to rebuild his life has been created by Trishna Bushnell of the Midwest Innocence Project (which was half of McIntyre's legal team along with Morgan Pilate) and it has raised over $9,000 so far.