Unmatched Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend

E. Steven Collins, posted 1.19.10

It was ‘justice delayed, justice denied’ weekend come to life in our home, radio broadcast, to the City of Philadelphia this past weekend.

He was taken from his home 35 years ago, convicted of rape and kidnapping, crimes James Bain did not committed. DNA evidence and the Innocence Project of Tallahassee Florida proved Bain’s justice was denied almost a lifetime.

The Philadelphia Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Association for non-violence asked James Bain, to our town to ring the Liberty Bell on Independence mall, on MLK Day in Philadelphia.

My Philly Lawyer, Dean I. Weitzman, from the Law Offices of Silvers, Langsam & Weitzman provided the funding to fly Baines and his family to Philadelphia to also tell his amazing story on Radio One and receive of the 2010 Drum Major Award for Criminal Justice! (see attached photo)

When he was released 31 days ago, he used a cell phone for the first time in his life. Cell phones didn’t exist in 1974, the year he was sentenced to life in prison for kidnapping a 9-year-old boy and raping him in a nearby field.

Neither did the sophisticated DNA testing officials more recently used to determine he could not have been the rapist.

“Nothing can replace the years Jamie has lost,” said Seth Miller, a lawyer for the Florida Innocence Project, which helped Bain win freedom. Seth, his wife, and the Bain family were guests at our home for dinner, football and down time, following interviews on Radio One’s 107.9 Public Affairs programming: ‘Court Radio’ and ‘Philly Speaks’. Mr. Bain was sent to prison when Richard M. Nixon was president, and was released when President Barack H. Obama is in office. He made me think about all that I have accomplished in the past thirty-five years. Career. Wife and Children. It is a really long time.

Bain spent more time in prison than any of the 246 inmates previously exonerated by DNA evidence nationwide, according to the project. The longest-serving before him was James Lee Woodard of Dallas, who was released last year after spending more than 27 years in prison for a murder he did not commit. James Bain asked the Florida courts four times to consider the DNA and was denied.

As Bain enjoyed the celebration dinner at our place prepared by Lisa he told our family of his heroes of Harriett Tubman, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He spoke of his deep faith in God and said he does not harbor any anger. I demonstrated how a laptop with internet worked and introduced his to Google Earth. James cheered on the Dallas Cowboys and while Rashid, Langston, Lisa and played down how happy we were that Dallas lost to the Saints while it rain on Sunday afternoon. He smiled and his eyes were teary when I asked him how he celebrated being home for Christmas with his family after 35 years.

On Saturday night, Dean and I took James, his twin sister Jane and other family members for soul food dinner at Ms. Tootsie’s on South Street and after the radio broadcasts we all had breakfast at the Breakfast House near 55th and Woodland in Southwest Philly. James, his sister Jane and niece Tanya loved the sweet potato pancakes.

He talked about life in prison and how inmates and the system tried to kill him several times, believing he was a child rapist.

The 54-year-old inspirational man said he wants to use the wrongful conviction to help others in similar situations.

Mr. Baines is one of the most inspirational people my family and I have ever had had the honored to meet. He makes us believe no matter how dark it gets there is a strong light at the end of life’s tunnel. Always keep your faith!

Here is important numbers and a wed address with additional information on the remarkable James Bain:

Innocence Project of Tallahassee Florida; Seth Miller, Esq.: 202.341.2127

Pennsylvania Innocence Project: Marissa B. Bluestine, Esq. Legal Director 215. 204.4255

My Philly Lawyer, Dean I. Weitzman, from the Law Offices of Silvers, Langsam & Weitzman 215-227-2727

Also On WRNB 100.3 Philly: