WBEZ | Antione Day http://www.wbez.org/tags/antione-day Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Exoneree Diaries: As series closes, how can system ever repay the falsely imprisoned? http://www.wbez.org/series/exoneree-diaries/exoneree-diaries-series-closes-how-can-system-ever-repay-falsely-imprisoned <p><p>Over the past two decades, Chicago lawyers, journalists and innocence crusaders have exposed flaws in the criminal justice system. Indeed, Cook County leads the country in the number of exonerations. But one area of wrongful convictions that has gone overlooked, apart from media coverage about multimillion dollar lawsuits won by the few, is how exonerated prisoners struggle to re-enter society and rebuild the lives and livelihoods they lost.</p><p>Exonerated prisoners encounter a world where they may have no place to sleep and no way to feed or clothe themselves; where family and friends have grown up, grown apart or died; where only 30 states plus Washington, D.C., have passed compensation statutes, and even some of these laws fall short; where they continue to experience the stigma of lockup and struggle to overcome years of institutionalization. On top of this, in Illinois criminal records are not automatically cleared when judges overturn convictions, interfering with the ability to find work and become part of a community.</p><p>These people do not even have a name. No dictionary I have found lists the word &ldquo;exoneree,&rdquo; even though as of this writing, there are 1,444 known men and women in the United States whose cases have been overturned since 1989, according to the National Registry of Exonerations.</p><p>For too long, they have been nearly voiceless. But in September 2013, WBEZ committed to giving three Cook County exonerees &ndash; Antione Day, Jacques Rivera and James Kluppelberg &ndash; a big voice.</p><p>Together, we launched Exoneree Diaries, a year-long multimedia series to explore a new frontier of the innocence movement. At the time, exonerations were at a record level &ndash; 87 total in 2013. In 2014, exonerations kept pace with those highs, with 76 convictions overturned as of this writing.</p><p>The narratives are built on a foundation of hundreds of hours of interviews with exonerees; their family and friends; criminal justice experts and officials; and lawyers and students. More than 4,000 pages of records &mdash; some more than a quarter of a century old &mdash; support their accounts, including original trial transcripts; court filings, orders and dockets; police reports; letters; news stories; affidavits and other evidence.</p><p>In the past year, we&rsquo;ve followed the lives of three exonerees:</p><blockquote><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/antione_0_0_1.png" style="height: 126px; width: 200px; float: left; margin-left: 5px; margin-right: 5px;" title="Antione Day (Andrew Gill/WBEZ)" /><strong>Antione Day</strong>, who was convicted in 1992 based on false testimony and poor representation, had a less than triumphant release when his case was overturned 12 years ago, after nearly a decade of incarceration. He found himself outside in the rain with no money and nowhere to go, wearing clothes he had plucked from a stinking pile inside the Cook County Jail. For another decade, he lived with stigma, was repeatedly refused for employment and was profiled by police. He earned a certificate of innocence in 2011, the legal requirement in Illinois to obtain compensation, almost missing the deadline because he was unaware the state had such a process. With his compensation earnings, he started his own organization to help exonerees adjust to life after prison. Almost a quarter of a century after his ordeal began, Antione still feels like he is in the state&rsquo;s back pocket, especially after an officer spooked him by recalling his old arrest warrant for murder.</p></blockquote><blockquote><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/jaques_0_0_0_0.jpg" style="height: 150px; width: 200px; float: left; margin-left: 5px; margin-right: 5px;" title="Jacques Rivera (Andrew Gill/WBEZ)" /><strong>Jacques</strong> <strong>Rivera </strong>was released from prison in 2011 after more than two decades behind bars. Eyewitness misidentification contributed to his wrongful conviction. His release garnered media attention, but when the cameras stopped clicking, he found himself struggling with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. He slept with a knife under his pillow for the first few months of his release, and he has had the frequent nightmare in which the detective from his criminal case, the notorious Reynaldo Guevara, shoots him in the back. Rivera has a civil lawsuit pending against the City of Chicago, and his attorneys are fighting to track down and access old police records. He is trying to reestablish relationships with his children &ndash; one of whom is incarcerated.</p></blockquote><blockquote><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/james_0_0%20-%20Copy_0.png" style="height: 103px; width: 200px; float: left; margin-left: 5px; margin-right: 5px;" title="James Kluppleberg (Andrew Gill/WBEZ)" /><strong>James Kluppleberg </strong>spent almost a quarter of a century in prison when he was released in 2012. His mother died not long before his release, and his wife had divorced him about halfway through his incarceration. Were it not for his estranged son welcoming him in, James would have been homeless. His two granddaughters, whom he had never met, sacrificed their room for him, and for months he slept on their bunk bed with pink Tinkerbell sheets. He quickly sought employment, submitted hundreds of job applications, with little response. James went to interview for one position, only to be turned away on the spot. &ldquo;We don&rsquo;t hire convicted murderers,&rdquo; they told him. He obtained a certificate of innocence, but the state fought his attempt, creating another long legal hurdle. James is suing about a dozen Chicago police officers for allegedly having contributed to his wrongful incarceration, in part due to a false confession that was beaten out of him, leading to health issues he continues to face. The lawsuit targets former police commander Jon Burge.</p></blockquote><p>We kicked off the series with<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9BMmBbNhrnY"> a short documentary</a> introducing the three exonerees. Over the course of the year, WBEZ&rsquo;s Morning Shift hosted our series 11 times, featuring all three exonerees. Sister Helen Prejean of &ldquo;Dead Man Walking&rdquo; and Kirk Bloodsworth, the first death row exoneree cleared by DNA evidence, also joined the program.</p><p>In addition to telling the exonerees&rsquo; individual stories, we delved into law and policy around exoneration issues, with insight from Loyola University&rsquo;s Life After Innocence program, the only project in the country solely dedicated to helping exonerees after release. We talked to Jarrett Adams, a Chicago native and Wisconsin exoneree with a burgeoning career as a lawyer, who gave us perspective on the weak compensation statute in Wisconsin. The state only compensates $5,000 per year of incarceration.</p><p>On WBEZ&rsquo;s sister station Vocalo, we learned from Indiana exoneree <a href="http://www.law.umich.edu/special/exoneration/pages/casedetail.aspx?caseid=4085">Kristine Bunch</a> and newly released prisoner Jennifer Del Prete<a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/exoneree-diaries/commentary-exoneree-movement-leaving-women-behind-110206"> what unique struggles women face</a> as they reenter their communities after a wrongful incarceration.</p><p>Over the past year, the series was spotlighted alongside famed innocence champion Barry Scheck at Loyola University. The Illinois Humanities Council invited us to speak at the Chicago Cultural Center and Northwestern Academy for Chicago Public Schools program hosted us at Northwestern University School of Law. Exoneree Diaries also served as a backdrop to a panel of women exonerees at the international Innocence Network conference in April 2014. As the series came to a close, the Online News Association selected Exoneree Diaries as a finalist for an Online Journalism Award, one of the highest honors in the field.</p><p>On a national scale, we have learned a lot about wrongful convictions this year, thanks to researchers at the National Registry of Exonerations. The highlights:</p><ul><li><a href="http://hosted.verticalresponse.com/1438491/60b961faeb/546806695/58c46ec68e/">One out of five known exonerations</a> is for a crime that never happened</li><li>About<a href="http://www.pnas.org/content/111/20/7230.abstract"> 4 percent of people</a> on death row are likely innocent</li><li>The<a href="https://www.law.umich.edu/special/exoneration/Pages/ExonerationsContribFactorsByCrime.aspx"> leading contributing factor</a> to wrongful convictions is perjury or false accusations (56 percent, or more than half of exonerations)</li><li>Among<a href="https://www.law.umich.edu/special/exoneration/Pages/news.aspx"> female exonerees</a>, 63 percent of female exonerees were convicted of crimes that never occurred, three times the rate for men. &nbsp;</li></ul><p>Across the country, we also saw significant reforms in the area of prosecutorial ethics this year. For the first time,<a href="http://www.texasmonthly.com/story/jail-time-may-be-least-ken-anderson%E2%80%99s-problems"> a prosecutor was sent to jail</a> for his direct involvement in wrongfully convicting an innocent man in 1987.</p><p>The Dallas County District Attorney&rsquo;s Office has continued to lead the way in showing how prosecutors are supposed to get it right. In July, Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins exonerated a former prisoner through his office&rsquo;s own systematic DNA review of old evidence. It was<a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/07/24/dallas-mans-exoneration-makes-national-history/13040299/"> the first exoneration of its kind</a>. In 2007, this was the first prosecutors&rsquo; office to open a conviction integrity unit to review old cases. Now it&rsquo;s become a national model for other projects, and the<a href="http://www.myfoxdc.com/story/26512823/us-attorney-in-the-district-creates-post-conviction-integrity-unit"> U.S. Attorney&rsquo;s Office in D.C. recently announced</a> it will soon have the first federal conviction integrity unit in the country.</p><p>Where we have yet to see much progress is in the area of compensation. <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2014/06/16/320356084/when-innocent-people-go-to-prison-states-pay">There remains no system</a> to fairly and consistently compensate innocent people.</p><p>As this entry marks the 50th and final installment of Exoneree Diaries, we end this media experiment as we began, by breaking form. Journalists are generally discouraged from thanking their sources, but we must express gratitude to the exonerees &ndash; Antione, Jacques and James &ndash; who anchored this project with their stories.</p><p>These three men made themselves vulnerable to us, digging deep for their most painful memories. Along the way, they revealed an unfortunate reality. They showed us that after a wrongful conviction, release from prison is not the victory it is perceived to be. It is, in fact, just the beginning of another dark narrative seldom told.</p><p>In telling that story, or trying to, we have often asked how these exonerees can ever be made whole. Antione, Jacques and James have answered that question for us: They won&rsquo;t. They can&rsquo;t. They can never make up for lost time. They can only move forward.</p><p>&ldquo;It is a burden, and it continues to haunt you,&rdquo; Antione said.</p><p>So the question becomes, how will the U.S. justice system exonerate itself of its crimes against innocent people?</p></p> Thu, 16 Oct 2014 10:48:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/exoneree-diaries/exoneree-diaries-series-closes-how-can-system-ever-repay-falsely-imprisoned Exoneree Diaries: Making the most of second chances, together http://www.wbez.org/series/exoneree-diaries/exoneree-diaries-making-most-second-chances-together-110733 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/antione_0_0_1_2.png" alt="" /><p><p><em>&ldquo;Living in a cage like an animal, you never forget it, so I would never let it wear me down because I shed myself of the burden. Being in prison and thinking of other people of being in that same situation that don&rsquo;t deserve it -- it&rsquo;s hard for me.&rdquo;</em><br /><br /><strong>OFFICE HOURS WERE OVER</strong>, and the weekly community meeting was soon to start. Antione sat hunched over at the front desk of the Howard Area Community Center, writing a letter to an inmate. He didn&rsquo;t know the guy.</p><p>Every week, about 10 letters would arrive for Antione from state prisons where he had visited and given talks to soon-to-be parolees. Inside the prisons, Antione would introduce himself and encourage guys to get in touch when they needed help upon release.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m not a letter writer,&rdquo; Antione said. &ldquo;No novellas.&rdquo;</p><p>He tried to write back because most of his own letters from prison went unanswered. People wouldn&rsquo;t respond, and Antione would write them again and again. During his incarceration, the prison would give inmates a few stamps a month.</p><p>His former &ldquo;cellie&rdquo; &ndash; Dennis Mixon, a guy who lived in his four-person dorm at Stateville Correctional Center &ndash; also wrote to him. Antione knew his &ldquo;rappies&rdquo; (the other guys on his case) from Pontiac Correctional Center, but it wasn&rsquo;t until he and Dennis bunked in the same room and realized their families knew each other that they became friends. Mixon was a quiet and pensive.</p><p>&ldquo;He know that I&rsquo;m not going to write no letter,&rdquo; Antione laughed. &ldquo;Dennis was a writer. He loved to write. He used to write a lot of stories.&rdquo;</p><p>Antione preferred their phone calls. Sometimes he would call Mixon&rsquo;s mom for updates and messages. Lately, the messages hadn&rsquo;t been good.</p><p>Mixon had a trouble with his kidneys and no money for a transplant. He had had a stroke and difficulty using one of his feet. When he was at Pontiac, the prison staff couldn&rsquo;t put shackles on his legs because they were so swollen.</p><p>Mixon&rsquo;s mom, a woman in her seventies, relied on other people to drive her a few times a year to the prison. She never learned highway driving, and she wouldn&rsquo;t go in bad weather, not after hitting some black ice on the way to Tamms Correctional Center one year. The prison closed in 2013.</p><p>&ldquo;I try not to be angry,&rdquo; Nedra Mixon said. &ldquo;Their plan is for him never to come out of there. I know Daniel Taylor because their trials were back to back. I thought they were both coming home. But neither one of them did.&rdquo;</p><p>Except that Daniel eventually did come home in 2013. Daniel, one of the eight accused (Mixon included) in a double murder in 1992, spent more than two decades of a life sentence behind bars. He had confessed to the crimes as a teen, even though it was impossible for him to have committed them. He was in police custody for disorderly conduct at the time of the shooting.</p><p>In his own case, Antione never confessed and always maintained his innocence. But he describes the phenomenon of false confessions as something like what happens in a kennel.</p><p>&ldquo;Chihuahuas. Poodles. You&rsquo;re all in cages, and you hear what&rsquo;s happening, instilling fear through the kennel,&rdquo; he said, mimicking the cries with his hands.</p><p>Daniel wasn&rsquo;t the only to confess in his case. The seven others confessed as well. Five were convicted. Eventually all were freed &ndash; except Mixon.</p><p>In prison, Mixon&rsquo;s communicated with prosecutors and journalists. His words damned him, placing himself at the crime scene while clearing the other guys. This account corroborated the innocence of the others, while further sealing his own fate.</p><p>But Antione, unaware of the particulars of what Mixon had said, took up his cause. He peddled Mixon&rsquo;s case around Chicago to anyone who would listen. He talked to lawyers, journalists and innocence crusaders. When he attended the Innocence Network conference every year, Antione would bend many ears about his friend.</p><p>&ldquo;They always tell us if we think or know of someone who may be innocent, let&rsquo;s look into it,&rdquo; Antione said. &ldquo;I truly believe that Dennis had nothing to do with this murder. Knowing him, I just don&rsquo;t see it. I was in prison with a thousand murderers and rapists and killers. You can tell just about who is who.&rdquo;</p><p>What Mixon was guilty of, Antione believes, is having a drug addiction. The kind that would make you &ldquo;say your mother killed Kennedy just to get out of a situation.&rdquo;<br /><br /><strong>A FEW MINUTES</strong> before 6:30 in the evening, Antione set his letter aside and told everyone in the computer lab to take a seat and power off the screens. Chairs lined the long room and wrapped around the corner. The room was full of parolees, kids and parents from the community for Antione&rsquo;s weekly &ldquo;Overcomers&rdquo; meeting.</p><p>The younger folks piled in the Howard Area Community Center to use the computers. No internet at home. The door was open to them. They liked to hang out.</p><p>&ldquo;You smell like a stank cigarette,&rdquo; Antione told one guy before starting the meeting and turning to the group. &ldquo;Anybody been watching the news? Nobody been watching the news? Because this news is all about y&rsquo;all.&rdquo;</p><p>Antione talked about new policies that he thought would hurt people on parole. He rambled on to other topics &ndash; finding jobs and taking responsibility for one&rsquo;s family.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s easy to make a baby, but it&rsquo;s hard to be a father,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Antione had his favorite sayings to motivate the group each week &ndash; &ldquo;a closed mouth truly don&rsquo;t get fed&rdquo; and &ldquo;when you settle for less, you always get less that you settle for.&rdquo;</p><p>And he often mentioned drugs and alcohol &ndash; life&rsquo;s vices that did not tempt him &ndash; as examples of what holds people back.</p><p>&ldquo;Y&rsquo;all listening?&rdquo; he hollered. &ldquo;This is for the grown folk. Not the little kids. &lsquo;Cuz some of these kids got more responsibility than us grown folk.&rdquo;</p><p>As Antione spoke, some men looked straight down. Others never broke eye contact. Gleefully, the kids joined the grown men in the closing cheer:</p><p>Put your hand in my hand, together can make it.<br />Put your hand in my hand, together can make it.<br />Put your hand in my hand, together can make it.<br />Guess what y&#39;all? We made it.</p><p>After releasing hands, the men and children formed a line for free haircuts. Antione headed up to the front where a barber who went by Mr. Antonio was already clipping a man&rsquo;s hair in an office chair.</p><p>&ldquo;How you want the sides?&rdquo; he asked.</p><p>Antione nudged the man getting his hair cut. &ldquo;How&rsquo;d you get in the chair first, man?&rdquo;</p><p>The guy shrugged at Antione as clumps of his hair fell on the faded blue carpeting. House music started to fill the room.</p><p>Antione grabbed a hair clipper and started in on another man&rsquo;s head, going quickly in different directions, as the man winced. Antione hated baldies. He didn&rsquo;t like touching the skin on their heads.</p><p>&ldquo;Hey there, can I get two regular haircuts? What&rsquo;s that $20?&rdquo; a lady busted in with her two little boys. She was joking.</p><p>&ldquo;No, it&rsquo;s 50 cents apiece!&rdquo; Antione smiled.</p><p>&ldquo;Nah, y&rsquo;all ain&rsquo;t worth it!&rdquo; she laughed.</p><p>Mr. Antonio took a soft brush and swept it across the forehead of the man in his chair, who was perfectly still, mouth relaxed, eyes fixed on the ground.</p><p>&ldquo;Do y&rsquo;all do designs?&rdquo; one of the little boys asked as soon as his mother left to run errands.</p><p>&ldquo;Does your mom allow you to have designs in your hair?&rdquo;</p><p>Antione worked to finish up the job. Peering through his glasses, he trimmed the man&rsquo;s nose hair.</p><p>He leaned back, eyes closed, as Antione carefully, but quickly cut the errant hairs away.</p><p>&ldquo;The kids gotta go. It&rsquo;s late,&rdquo; Antione said to one of his mentees who was sweeping up and sat down ahead of the line for a haircut.</p><p>A third barber emerged and started trimming the back of one of the little boys&rsquo; heads. The young one leaned forward, his eyes darting up to see the other haircuts in action.</p><p>&ldquo;Hey, call your mom and tell her to bring a bologna sandwich back!&rdquo; Antione said to the other little boy who was patiently waiting his turn. The kid didn&rsquo;t seem to get the joke.</p><p>Mr. Antonio propped the younger brother on a booster seat atop an office chair. The boy looked down, eyelashes full and bashful as Mr. Antonio clipped the cape around his white t-shirt.</p><p>The sky had turned dark when the boys&rsquo; mother returned with some shopping bags. Mr. Antonio finished cutting around one of the boys&rsquo; ears as the other brother played with coins on a side table.</p><p>&ldquo;25-50-75-100 cents!&rdquo; he exclaimed, revealing a gap-toothed smile and looking up for his mother&rsquo;s approval.</p><p>&ldquo;That&rsquo;s four quarters,&rdquo; she assured him. &ldquo;Where&rsquo;s your jacket?&rdquo;</p><p>She turned to Antione. &ldquo;I&rsquo;ll come up next Wednesday, and y&rsquo;all give me a press &lsquo;n curl!&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s a good thing,&rdquo; Antione nodded. &ldquo;You know, not everybody can afford haircuts.&rdquo;</p><p>&quot;Did you say thank you?&quot; she said turning to her little boys. They nodded uh-huh.</p><p>Mr. Antonio headed out behind them too.</p><p>&quot;I appreciate you coming to volunteer man,&rdquo; Antione said. &ldquo;I appreciate it man, I really do.&rdquo;</p><p>There were a few more guys left to go before Antione could close up shop.</p><p>In a few weeks, he would have a grill out for the kids and put out some hot dogs. He knew they were hungry. Hungry for food and hungry for leadership.</p><p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t know it all, but being able to come here after what I went through, [it&rsquo;s] so you don&rsquo;t have to go through that,&rdquo; Antione remarked. &ldquo;Because not everyone get a second chance.&rdquo;</p></p> Tue, 02 Sep 2014 09:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/exoneree-diaries/exoneree-diaries-making-most-second-chances-together-110733 Exoneree Diaries: Antione helps as his son learns a hard lesson http://www.wbez.org/series/exoneree-diaries/exoneree-diaries-antione-helps-his-son-learns-hard-lesson-110528 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/antione_0_0_1_1.png" alt="" /><p><p><em>&ldquo;It was a secret from me that he even got in trouble. If they had told me from the beginning, I would have told him don&rsquo;t talk to no police and make no statement. Cuz they&rsquo;ll use it against him.&rdquo;</em><br /><br /><strong>ANTIONE&rsquo;S SON NEEDED</strong> a lawyer.</p><p>Krishon, a senior football player at Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant, Okla., was weeks away from graduating in 2013, when he and four other teammates faced criminal charges.</p><p>They had faked robberies as an April Fool&rsquo;s Day prank on their friends.</p><p>Fingerprinted, Krishon was incredulous &ndash; how did he get here?</p><p>When Antione was shuttled off to prison two decades earlier, Krishon was a tot. When Antione was released, Krishon had just finished the eighth grade.</p><p>Over the years, Krishon had never really known why his father was in prison, let alone the circumstances of his wrongful conviction. And when Antione won his freedom, he didn&rsquo;t reveal much more to his son, except to warn him to be careful, to not get himself into any situations.</p><p>Almost ten years later, Krishon was in a situation.</p><p>&ldquo;I found out in the eleventh hour,&rdquo; Antione said after learning of Krishon&rsquo;s arrest and suspension from school. &ldquo;I want him to learn something from this. When I talk to him, I&rsquo;m the old man. But when you&rsquo;re in hot water, when your ass is on the line, then you call Superman.&rdquo;</p><p>In the early morning hours of April 2, after a series of innocuous pranks all day, Krishon and four friends, decided to scare their friends. They dressed in dark clothing and covered their faces with masks fashioned from a pillow case.<br /><br />They were black. The city of Durant, mostly white. The targets of their prank &ndash; first, other teammates. But later on, their white girlfriends.<br /><br />The young men banged on doors, busted in, yelled and pretended their cell phones were guns so convincingly that police reported one of the victims (a friend) saying he saw two 9 mm handguns, black in color.</p><p>There were no guns, and no one was physically harmed. But the girls were terrified.</p><p>&ldquo;Maybe other people could get away with pretending to be criminals, black people can&rsquo;t do it. It was a big deal down here,&rdquo; a local minister told Chicago Sun-Times writer Mary Mitchell, who covered the story after the NAACP sued Southeastern Oklahoma State University for its handling of the case.<br /><br />After a police investigation ensued, along with rumors about what had really happened, the five players turned themselves in.<br /><br />&ldquo;You tried to scare little white girls&rdquo; is what Krishon says an officer told them during their interview.</p><p>The officer also memorialized the statement in his report, albeit with a different tone: &ldquo;When speaking to one of the parties above I asked if he knew that he scared a lot of young ladies with the prank. He laughed and said it wouldn&#39;t have been funny if they wouldn&#39;t have been. He said it was just a prank taken too far.&rdquo;</p><p>Krishon had long tried to stay out of trouble, and above all, he never wanted to do time like his father.</p><p>&ldquo;I feel stupid for putting myself in a situation where I had to go to jail because I told myself I never would,&rdquo; he says.</p><p>After their suspension from the university, the students appealed. It seemed ill-fated from the start. Krishon overheard a board member say to a professor that &ldquo;he would have shot them if they had<br />knocked on his door.&rdquo;</p><p>Meanwhile, the district attorney for the 19th District of Oklahoma wanted to prosecute. Antione paid for a lawyer.<br /><br />Months later, the players were offered several plea deals. Krishon rejected all of them. But when his mom started talking about getting a new lawyer, he decided it was time to take the punishment and move on.<br /><br />The students ended up with about a month of jail time, part of a 90-day sentence, plus three years of probation and a couple thousand dollars in court fees.</p><p>Jail was about what Krishon had imagined. He felt angry, as he had imagined. He worked odd jobs, as he had imagined. The guards were on a power trip, as he had imagined.</p><p>&ldquo;It wasn&rsquo;t something I&rsquo;d ever do again,&rdquo; he says.</p><p>Krishon left jail with about a semester of college to redo. He would have to finish his business marketing degree somewhere else.</p><p>Until then, he would earn a paycheck as a counselor at a fitness center and use his athletic expertise to help people get in shape.</p><p>And every month, as his court fees would come due, he would pay up and feel mad at himself all over again.</p></p> Fri, 18 Jul 2014 16:52:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/exoneree-diaries/exoneree-diaries-antione-helps-his-son-learns-hard-lesson-110528 Exoneree Diaries: 'Take it one block at a time' http://www.wbez.org/series/exoneree-diaries/exoneree-diaries-take-it-one-block-time-110480 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/antione_0_0_1_0.png" alt="" /><p><p><em>&ldquo;This is my neighborhood. I grew up here. I know everybody. I know the kids, The people in the community, the stakeholders, kind of respect me because I&rsquo;m active. You don&rsquo;t have drug deals on the corner right here. You don&rsquo;t have none of that because even the guys in the street respect me. Because it just ain&rsquo;t going to happen. Sometimes you have to put your foot down. I ain&rsquo;t the damn police neither.&rdquo;</em></p><p>Antione walked past his childhood home. His stepdad still lived there.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re naming the block after my mom,&rdquo; he mentioned.</p><p>Brick bungalows lined the street. Signs with big red X&rsquo;s marked the homes that were empty, a warning to firefighters that the structure could collapse.</p><p>Antione couldn&rsquo;t take two steps in Chicago&rsquo;s Austin neighborhood without getting stopped by acquaintances. He spent most of his time there, fixing up old properties in the year since his wife and kids moved out of their four-bedroom home in Villa Park, about a half hour away.</p><p>&ldquo;How you doing? You alright?&rdquo; Antione called over to a neighbor.</p><p>At an intersection, Antione halted in his tracks and smiled as a man named Johnny stopped his car and jumped out to greet him, leaving his car in the middle of the road.</p><p>Johnny, a weathered short man, walked toward Antione. His blue pearlescent studded boots clicked on the pavement.</p><p>They exchanged pleasantries as another friend, whom Antione had gone to kindergarten with more than 40 years ago, drove past them. Now, the neighborhood&rsquo;s underpopulated schools were targets for closure. The Chicago Teachers Union had been rallying all week.</p><p>Johnny&rsquo;s face turned somber as he talked to Antione, mid-road.</p><p>&ldquo;When I decide to change, I mean it,&rdquo; Johnny told him, peering past his ball cap. &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t wanna be like I used to. You know, man? It&rsquo;s scary.&rdquo;</p><p>Johnny had spent the last two months living in a community house.</p><p>&ldquo;I became a criminal in the house,&rdquo; he said, shaking his head. &ldquo;You ever become a criminal in a house where you at, where you trying to stay clean?&rdquo;</p><p>Antione, averse to substances, couldn&rsquo;t relate. He had a drug arrest on his record, prior to his wrongful conviction, but says the stuff was planted because he was mouthing off to police.</p><p>&ldquo;One of the reasons I&rsquo;m wanting to do that house is guys like yourself that are trying to change and better themselves,&rdquo; Antione said about the Life After Justice building. &ldquo;Find it difficult when you living with people that&rsquo;s not trying to change.&rdquo;</p><p>Johnny had been on disability since 1989, he said, and it wasn&rsquo;t enough for him to live on.</p><p>&ldquo;I mean disability is only nothing,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;I need more than that! C&rsquo;mon, you can&rsquo;t make it! I want to get off disability and work!&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;And you can,&rdquo; Antione said. &nbsp;&ldquo;But can you work? What kind of work would you do?&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;That&rsquo;s a good question,&rdquo; Johnny shook his head. &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t know.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;So you need to think about that,&rdquo; Antoine told him.</p><p>A kid emerged from around Johnny&rsquo;s parked car and asked Antione for a light.</p><p>&ldquo;No.&rdquo;</p><p>The kid walked away.</p><p>&ldquo;He wants a light so he can light a joint. These kids is crazy,&rdquo; Antoine said, turning back to Johnny.</p><p>They talked about rising up and changing the neighborhood.</p><p>&ldquo;Take it one block at a time,&rdquo; Antoine said.</p><p>&ldquo;You and me, we walk together.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Alright, bra&rsquo;, take care of yourself, man!&rdquo;</p><p>Johnny got back in his car and drove off. Antione lapped the corner and walked to the prospective Life After Justice property, a temporary house that Antione hoped to live in when the organization found a permanent spot. &nbsp;He hired a few guys to help him out.</p><p>Inside the house, patches of hardwood peeped through construction scraps and a tarp covering the kitchen and common area.</p><p>&ldquo;We have beautiful wood floors,&rdquo; he explained.&rdquo; I just left this down so they don&rsquo;t scuff them all up.&rdquo;</p><p>He planned to sand and revarnish the floors and doors then paint the walls. Antione had a friend who worked for a paint company and brought him some free cans.</p><p>&ldquo;A bed there, a bed there, a bed there,&rdquo; Antione pointed to different angles of the same small bedroom.</p><p>The kitchen would be a popular spot, as many guys coming out of prison have learned how to cook for the masses. Antione would assign somebody to cook meals for the exonerees because he didn&rsquo;t believe in having everybody cooking and using the kitchen at once. It&rsquo;s dangerous and unclean, he said.</p><p>Downstairs, music from a boom box blared, and a pot full of wet dog food sat on the ground &ndash; for Hannibal, Antione&rsquo;s dog who had one blue eye and liked to tear holes in the wall when he wasn&rsquo;t chained in the backyard.</p><p>&ldquo;They&rsquo;ve had to repair the same spot twice,&rdquo; Antione said.</p><p>Bedrooms connected to bedrooms. One room would be his. It was dark and dusty. He envisioned a Jacuzzi tub all to himself.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m by myself now,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t need no three-bedroom house no more.&rdquo;</p><p>His young kids, when they visited, would stay in the connecting rooms, what used to be the house&rsquo;s boiler room. One side for the little girl, one side for the two boys. He needed to tear down a wall to open up the space and rip out the cedar cabinets, saving them for the kitchen.</p><p>Antione had hoped the temporary Life After Justice house would be ready before the 11<sup>th</sup> anniversary of his release from prison. But the crew had gone too slowly, he said, despite pushing his guys to finish on time.</p><p>&ldquo;I wanted to prove to Laura that I could do this in 30 days, 60 days,&rdquo; he sighed. &ldquo;It can happen.&rdquo;</p><p>Then, another setback. Someone had stolen all the wiring in the house. He knew who had done it and confronted the guy.</p><p>&ldquo;Told him I didn&rsquo;t have it,&rdquo; Antione said. &ldquo;He brought it back.&rdquo;</p></p> Fri, 11 Jul 2014 07:59:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/exoneree-diaries/exoneree-diaries-take-it-one-block-time-110480 Exoneree Diaries: Journey to a 'Life after Justice' home http://www.wbez.org/series/exoneree-diaries/exoneree-diaries-journey-life-after-justice-home-110389 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Capture_11.PNG" alt="" /><p><p><em>&ldquo;Being an exoneree you have no opportunity for training, you have no programs set in place for you. Programs are not available for exonerees as of right now, but there are plans, and we pushing it through to try to make things happen for exonerees today. But when I came home there were no programs at all for the exonerees, so that&rsquo;s one of the things we really fighting for with Life After Justice and Life After Innocence.&rdquo;</em></p><p><strong>&ldquo;ANTIONE CAN BE A LITTLE BIT</strong> of a dreamer,&rdquo; says Brad Lorden. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s one of the things I love most about him.&rdquo;</p><p>In 2012, Brad was finishing up as a law and business student at Loyola University when he put together a small business plan for Life After Justice, the organization Antione and fellow exoneree Jarrett Adams had talked about starting.&nbsp;</p><p>Antione&rsquo;s vision had long been in place. It started ten years earlier in those first steps of freedom outside of Cook County Jail as he wore another man&rsquo;s clothes without any place to go.</p><p>For Jarrett, an incoming law student, it was the not-so-distant memories of sleeping on his mother&rsquo;s sofa and, like Antione, being turned down for jobs because of his incarceration for a wrongful conviction.</p><p>The pair wanted to help other exonerees become self-sufficient, first by giving them a place to lay their heads at night in a residence shared with other exonerees &ndash; the Life After Justice house. Job training would come later, when the exonerees were ready, Antione and Jarrett thought.</p><p>But how the organization would become self-sustaining was another question, especially in a house that would incur expenses like property taxes and supplies.</p><p>So Brad and some business classmates took on the project. At the end of the semester, they presented their business plan to Antione and Jarrett at Loyola&rsquo;s Water Tower campus in Chicago.</p><p>&ldquo;They were excited to see it becoming more of a reality,&rdquo; Brad, now a board member at Life After Justice, remembers. &ldquo;They were both moved that we put so much time and energy into it.&rdquo;</p><p>The students proposed that Life After Justice provide a grace period to exonerees first entering the house where they could live rent free. Then, after a set period of time, the house would expect them to contribute back through a particular job. The exoneree could supply a small amount of rent to help pay the monthly expenses of the house.</p><p>They also figured that there might not always be a steady stream of exonerees coming into the house, so Life After Justice could then open up the place to parolees. This was a natural move for Antione, who mentored former prisoners for his day job at the community center.</p><p>After the students finished their presentation, the entire class rose to its feet upon learning Jarrett would be entering law school in the fall.</p><p>&ldquo;It was nice,&rdquo; Jarrett says of the standing ovation. &ldquo;It was one of them things that made me realize just how far I had [come].&rdquo;<br /><br />About eight months later, the organization was given 501(c) 3 tax-status approval. Jarrett had his first semester of law school under his belt, collecting media nods, and Antione kept fixing up a cousin&rsquo;s place while setting his sights on another potential property for the Life After Justice house.</p><p><strong>&ldquo;IS THIS MR. DAY?</strong>&rdquo; Jarrett asked into the speaker phone, pretending to be a telemarketer as law professor Laura Caldwell stood next to him, fiddling around with the conference call set up as Brad walked in the room to join.</p><p>&ldquo;Yes, it is.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;How are you doing today, sir?&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Doing well,&rdquo; Antione said, tentatively.</p><p>Jarrett burst out laughing: &ldquo;I&rsquo;m just messing! C&rsquo;mon man, you know my voice.&rdquo;</p><p>Jarrett, coming from work, was dressed in a purple and white checkered shirt, topped with a black sweater &ndash; business casual to his classmates&rsquo; plain casual student garb. As students settled in around a conference table, Jarrett sat at the head of it.&nbsp; Laura&rsquo;s weekly, workshop-style class engaged law students in a clinic to aid exonerees for her organization, Life After Innocence. One of the class projects was to provide support to Life After Justice.</p><p>Jarrett had become the face of Loyola&rsquo;s law school, Life After Innocence and now his own organization. At times he just wanted to be known as Jarrett, rather than an exoneree-turned-law student, but he also felt a responsibility to share his story to those who would listen. Laura showed him a picture of himself for a story about finishing his first year of law school.</p><p>&ldquo;My teeth are white!&rdquo; he laughed.</p><p>Jarrett was ready to get to work. On the class agenda: a planning call with Antione to discuss next steps for Life After Justice.</p><p>On the line, Antione could be heard still at work, preparing for his Wednesday night support group for ex-offenders.</p><p>&ldquo;Let the man in the wheelchair sign in first,&rdquo; Antione said to the support group attendees, as Laura&rsquo;s class listened to his conversation. &ldquo;Everyone sign in.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;He&rsquo;s the king of multi-tasking,&rdquo; Laura chuckled.</p><p>The class waited for him to wrap up, chatting and Google-chatting, akin to passing notes, across the conference table.</p><p>Antione returned to the conference call. They talked through what logo to pick &ndash; should they go with the one showing prison bars or with something else more forward-thing, they asked &ndash; then moved on discuss the status of the house. Antione was juggling two properties. One of them might become the house, at least temporarily.</p><p>&ldquo;We got to start somewhere,&rdquo; Antione said. &ldquo;We can start downtown in Trump Towers for all I care.&rdquo;</p><p>The students loaded Antione with questions: How long should exonerees stay before paying rent? How many units will be in the house? How many beds?</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve got a roomful of lawyers here, so we&rsquo;re just making sure we&rsquo;re dotting the I&rsquo;s and crossing the T&rsquo;s,&rdquo; Laura assured Antione.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m definitely not frustrated,&rdquo; Antione said. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m excited!&rdquo;</p><p>The class went through potential zoning issues and real estate questions. Jarrett interrupted the discussion and reminded everyone of the mission.</p><p>&ldquo;My goal is to pull other people through the window I came through,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;We win if we have one Antione Day.&rdquo;</p><p>Less than two weeks later, on a windy April day, Jarrett, Antione and Laura (and her dog Shafer), posed for a photo in front of a boarded-up brick home in Chicago&rsquo;s Austin neighborhood, close to Antione&rsquo;s childhood home. Antione wore sunglasses to shield his eyes from the gusty cold. Laura&rsquo;s red hair whipped around as she held Shafer close. Shafer wore a scarf.</p><p>Jarrett captioned the photo in big cursive letters, time-stamping it and sharing it on social media: &ldquo;Life After Justice House.&rdquo;</p></p> Fri, 20 Jun 2014 15:11:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/exoneree-diaries/exoneree-diaries-journey-life-after-justice-home-110389 Exoneree Diaries: Antione's jam band http://www.wbez.org/series/exoneree-diaries/exoneree-diaries-antiones-jam-band-110388 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/antione_0_0_1.png" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>&ldquo;People really don&rsquo;t understand it when you see a guy and he&rsquo;s not behind a bar or he&rsquo;s not in a blue uniform or a gold uniform, and you&rsquo;re just free and you able to socialize and somebody not tell you can&rsquo;t talk to him. It&rsquo;s great. It&rsquo;s a family. You know? We are a family.&rdquo;</em></p><p><strong>ANTIONE HAD A HEAD COLD,</strong> and his voice was hoarse. He bundled himself in a navy blue pullover on the chilly February night.</p><p>He was set to go on stage within minutes at the $100-a-ticket event at Buddy Guy&rsquo;s Legends, a famous Chicago blues club, for the Illinois Bar Foundation&rsquo;s annual Battle of the Bands fundraiser.</p><p>Feasting on trays of barbecue and an open bar, the after-work crowd was starting to feel good &ndash; lawyers, judges and law students. A handful of exonerees attended, including James Kluppelberg, who stood toward the side of the hall, finding it difficult to carry on a conversation over the chatter and noise.</p><p>The roster of dueling bands consisted of a couple ensembles of lawyers and judges with legal pun names: The Objections and DisBard. But Antione&rsquo;s band had a simple name and premise: Exoneree Band, formerly incarcerated and exonerated guys. The group was one of two bands Antione liked to jam with from time to time. Antione and his buddy Raymond Towler were two of the Exoneree Band regulars, playing at other fundraisers and events.</p><p>Towler lived in Ohio where he spent almost 30 years of life sentence behind bars for a rape and kidnapping that he did not commit. In May 2010, a judge ordered his release, choking back tears. Towler was 24 when he was wrongfully convicted, and 52 years old when he won his freedom. At Buddy Guy&rsquo;s, a thick gray beard covered Towler&rsquo;s face as he tuned up his guitar while his girlfriend shot video from a handheld camera, standing mid-crowd.</p><p>The president of the Illinois Bar Foundation took the stage and called on Laura Caldwell, who jumped up and took the microphone to introduce the exonerees.</p><p>&ldquo;Raymond Towler, who served almost 30 years,&rdquo; Laura began, pausing as the crowd clapped.<br />&ldquo;Antione Day, who served 10 years for a murder he didn&rsquo;t commit.&rdquo;</p><p>Exoneree Band opened with &ldquo;Mustang Sally&rdquo;, collecting yelps from the crowd. Antione introduced the next song, shaking his head and apologizing for his weak voice that he had lost three days earlier.&nbsp; The band had only practiced for four hours, he told the crowd, as guitar chords lightly strummed, filling the empty space between songs.</p><p>&ldquo;They call it stormy Monday, Tuesday&rsquo;s just as bad,&rdquo; Antione sang softly. His voice registered just above a whisper, and he played the drums. &ldquo;Lord, and Wednesday&rsquo;s worse, and Thursday&rsquo;s all so sad.&rdquo;</p><p>Antione took a break on the vocals as the band played an instrumental number. Towler had written the song for a friend still on the inside.</p><p>&ldquo;For a guy who didn&rsquo;t get out of jail,&rdquo; Antione told the crowd.</p><p>By the end of the set, Antione had warmed up his voice and started to smile, feeling the music. He clicked his drumsticks to kick off the next song. The guitarists weren&rsquo;t sure when to come in, but Antione didn&rsquo;t let up, clicking away until they joined him.</p><p>Towler mouthed to the bassist, &ldquo;Wrong chord.&rdquo; Antione chimed in, his voice gaining strength to Otis Redding&rsquo;s song, &ldquo;Sittin&rsquo; on the Dock of the Bay.&rdquo;</p><p>The cheers masked the cracks in Antione&rsquo;s voice as it grew louder and stronger by the final song. &ldquo;Glory, Hallelujah!&rdquo; he sang, wrapping up the more than half-hour set.</p><p>The host took the stage again, shouting above the audience&rsquo;s applause: &ldquo;Let&rsquo;s hear it for the Exonerees!&rdquo;</p></p> Fri, 20 Jun 2014 14:35:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/exoneree-diaries/exoneree-diaries-antiones-jam-band-110388 Exoneree Diaries: How Jarrett Adams rebuilt his life after prison http://www.wbez.org/series/exoneree-diaries/exoneree-diaries-how-jarrett-adams-rebuilt-his-life-after-prison-110381 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/antione_0_0_0.png" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>&quot;After all the lights and the cameras has shut down, life begins. It kicks in in a very neutral position because you don&rsquo;t know which way to go, what to do or how to get it done. Exonerees have no services that they qualify for. They have no reentry programs that they qualify for. &hellip;The reentry programs are designed to help guys once they return from prison, but exonerees don&rsquo;t have that opportunity.&quot;</em></p><p><strong>ANTIONE KEPT RUNNING INTO JARRETT ADAMS</strong>, a young Wisconsin exoneree who was from Chicago, at events coordinated by Loyola University&rsquo;s Life After Innocence program. About 20 years Antione&rsquo;s junior, Jarrett had only been out of prison for a handful of years.</p><p>Like Antione, a wrongful conviction robbed him of his youth. In September 1998 Jarrett was two months shy of 18 when he and two friends traveled from Chicago to Wisconsin to attend a party. The three teens returned with a false accusation of rape. The racially-charged case resulted in Jarrett&rsquo;s conviction in 2000, and it carried a 28-year prison sentence. With the help of the University of Wisconsin&rsquo;s Innocence Project, Jarrett was exonerated seven years later on evidence that his state-appointed attorney failed to investigate and secure witnesses who<br />could have cleared him.</p><p>&ldquo;You sit, hope and wish for the day to come and when it finally gets here. You&rsquo;re so exhausted that you really want to just move on,&rdquo; Jarrett remembers.</p><p>He walked back into the world without any living, medical or financial assistance from the state of Wisconsin. He wore a jogging suit purchased from the commissary and orange shoes provided by the jail. He had $30 left on his account &ndash; and was later charged $16 for the rubber-soled canvas shoes.</p><p>Jarrett slept on a couch at his mother and stepfather&rsquo;s place. They were both seniors living on fixed incomes. With a nearly 10-year gap in his resume, and his last known address being a super-max, Jarrett couldn&rsquo;t find work.</p><p>&ldquo;The news of my conviction and it being overturned was a click of a button away on Google,&rdquo; he says.</p><p>Jarrett turned to academics, attending junior college and later enrolling at Roosevelt University, where he graduated with honors. He landed a job working as a full-time federal defense investigator. Next came law school at Loyola, where Jarrett quickly became the face of various media and outreach efforts &ndash; his story played to the school&rsquo;s mission.</p><p>&ldquo;Everyone is talking about &lsquo;Wow, he&rsquo;s in law school &ndash; this is great!&rsquo;&rdquo; Jarrett says. &ldquo;But no one really knows that I&rsquo;m still paying on debts that were incurred as a result of being locked up and wrongfully convicted.&rdquo;</p><p>In Wisconsin, the compensation statute for exonerees is one of the weakest in the country, offering up to $25,000 to those who can prove that they didn&rsquo;t bring about their own wrongful conviction. Jarrett received nothing.</p><p>&ldquo;All the charges were dismissed, and so now you&rsquo;re asking me to come back around and prove that I was absolutely innocent? That was a standard that it didn&rsquo;t even take for me to be found guilty!&rdquo;</p><p>Prior to becoming a student at Loyola, Jarrett crossed paths with Laura Caldwell, executive director of Life After Innocence, who had worked on Antione&rsquo;s certificate of innocence petition, helping to clear his name. She introduced the pair.</p><p>It wasn&rsquo;t until an Innocence Network conference, in a hotel lobby in the company of another exoneree, that Antione and Jarrett shared their stories of release from prison, struggling to find work and sleeping on their mothers&rsquo; couches. They both knew of other exonerees who didn&rsquo;t even have that much. They knew guys who were sleeping in drug houses or signing contracts with family members to give up some of their future compensation (if any) for a roof over their head.</p><p>Antione told Jarrett about his idea, the one he had shared with his mother before she passed, to create a home for exonerees where they could escape the pressures of the real world. Jarrett thought they could also provide resources to help these exonerees reenter society. No such state-funded programs exist in Illinois for exonerees upon release.</p><p>&ldquo;We found it to be therapeutic to share our stories with each other,&rdquo; Jarrett says. &ldquo;And it gave birth to the idea of Life After Justice [their non-profit organization] and preventing our struggles from becoming everyone else&rsquo;s.&rdquo;</p></p> Thu, 19 Jun 2014 17:05:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/exoneree-diaries/exoneree-diaries-how-jarrett-adams-rebuilt-his-life-after-prison-110381 Antione Day returns home, rebuilds http://www.wbez.org/series/exoneree-diaries/antione-day-returns-home-rebuilds-109131 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/antione_0.png" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>My life was broken. I had to restart myself to get myself to grow again.</em></p><p>HIS MOTHER&rsquo;S HOUSE in Chicago&rsquo;s Austin neighborhood had shrunk. At least that&rsquo;s what it seemed like when Antione Day looked around his childhood home for the first time in about a decade.</p><p>His kids, on the other hand, were much bigger than he remembered.&nbsp; Antione, one of nine children, had 13 of his own. It was hard to keep up with them before he went to prison, let alone after such an absence.&nbsp;</p><p>They trickled in for visits. Father and son, father and daughter, and over again, they shared tearful reunions. But the joy couldn&rsquo;t quite blot out the collective pain as Antione tried to reconnect with them and reenter their lives. He wanted that second chance to be a father, as he had told the judge who sentenced him in 1993.</p><p>When Antione went away, one of his sons, Krishon, was a toddler. When Antione was released, Krishon was already a little man, having just graduated from eighth grade. He had visited Antione some in prison, more so when he was younger. Antione tried to parent from prison, looking over schoolwork from time to time.</p><p>Krishon never knew why his dad was put away. It wasn&rsquo;t until Antione was released that Krishon&rsquo;s mom told him. He mustered up the courage to ask Antione him for details.</p><p>&ldquo;Don&rsquo;t worry about it,&rdquo; Antione told him. &ldquo;You just don&rsquo;t get yourself into any situations.&rdquo;</p><p>AFTER HIS FIRST NIGHT BACK, Antione left his mother&rsquo;s room when his stepdad came home. He moved to the couch where he slept for a week or two before crashing at a friend&rsquo;s place in Bensonville, Ill., a half hour drive from home.</p><p>He spent his days talking to his mom, comforting her and telling her everything was going to be OK now. She kept him fed, making him baked chicken, sweet potatoes, greens, corn bread &ndash; &ldquo;a real soul food dinner,&rdquo; Antione remembers.</p><p>But late at night, Antione would be wide awake. It was hard to fall asleep. The car horns and street lights disturbed him, signaling a scary world beyond his mom&rsquo;s cozy brick bungalow on Quincy Street.</p><p>Soon he ventured out into the neighborhood, said hello to folks. He discovered that rumors and sideways glances about his conviction still haunted him. Antione didn&rsquo;t tell many people how he got out. People just thought he was out.</p><p>One friendly face greeted him across the fence, his neighbor and former music instructor Mr. Hicks, who had seen promise in Antione from an early age.</p><p>&ldquo;Come over and play,&rdquo; Mr. Hicks said. &ldquo;Let&rsquo;s play a little bit.&rdquo;</p><p>Antione was on the drums while Mr. Hicks played the xylophone. Mr. Hicks could tell Antione had kept up his skills in prison, no matter that he had been practicing on a dilapidated drum set. Antione could tell Mr. Hicks was proud.</p><p>&ldquo;FIRST THING WE DID, we got me my license.&rdquo;</p><p>Antione&rsquo;s friend Darnell took him to the DMV to take the test. A lover of the open road, Antione found it easy, as though no time had passed.</p><p>He drove a family car, a Chevy Cavalier, and he took it just about anywhere he could go in a day&rsquo;s time &ndash; Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota. He had craved these voyages over the years in prison, drawing pictures of highways and dreaming up trips he might never take.</p><p>&ldquo;Always said that I want to get on this highway and when I get on it, I&rsquo;m going to ride, ride,&rdquo; Antione said.</p><p>As he racked up miles on the car, Antione got to thinking he&rsquo;d like to build something of his own. He figured out how to use the Internet on his mom and stepdad&rsquo;s desktop computer, and he ordered parts for a Suzuki Hayabusa, a sport bike motorcycle. He found the bike&rsquo;s 1999 frame in Texas. The engine too. The plastic parts came from California. Piece by storied piece, web page by web page, trial by many errors, Antione had the conviction to create something strong and solid out of the scraps.</p><p>&ldquo;Finally got something done,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;Made my challenge worthwhile. Felt like I accomplished something because everyone said I couldn&rsquo;t do it.&rdquo;</p><p>When he put the motorcycle to pavement, the world still seemed so brand new. He crossed through the neighborhood, got on the highway and rode.</p></p> Tue, 12 Nov 2013 10:20:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/exoneree-diaries/antione-day-returns-home-rebuilds-109131 Exoneree Diaries: Antione Day's fight for freedom http://www.wbez.org/series/exoneree-diaries/exoneree-diaries-antione-days-fight-freedom-108915 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/antione.png" alt="" /><p><p><em>&ldquo;I was mad at the world. I was mad at the birds that flew in the sky.&rdquo;</em><br /><br />ANTIONE WAS SENT to Pontiac Correctional Center, a mostly maximum-security prison in Pontiac, Ill., about 100 miles Southwest of Chicago. The prison is the City of Pontiac&rsquo;s largest employer, and it is home to one of the worst prison riots in Illinois history. In 1978, gang members armed with shanks charged the guards, prisoners set fire to several buildings and three workers died.</p><p>&ldquo;Wasn&rsquo;t no room for no nice guys at Pontiac,&rdquo; Antione remembers. &ldquo;I acted a fool for a while.&rdquo;</p><p>Before his incarceration, Antione was a respected musician who played around town, but in prison, he had to earn a different kind of respect. An innocent among some of the state&rsquo;s most violent inmates, Antione lifted weights, boxed, started fights and would get into it with the guards, winding up in the hole &ndash; or segregation.</p><p>&ldquo;I wanted to be the asshole they said I was,&rdquo; he says.</p><p>Antione&rsquo;s mom, Littie, wrote to him to keep his spirits up. Once she sent him a postcard of Alcatraz Island, the famous federal prison known as &ldquo;The Rock&rdquo; that closed 40 years ago.</p><p>&ldquo;That was her sense of humor,&rdquo; Antione says. It could be worse, she seemed to say.</p><p>To pass the time in segregation, he would do jumping jacks and push-ups. This was his pattern, his way to deal with prison&rsquo;s monotony, occasional chaos and constant danger. And then one day, he decided to stop fighting against himself and start fighting for himself.</p><p>His son Krishon, who was a tot when Antione was sentenced, had come to visit. Krishon asked: &ldquo;Dad, when you coming home?&rdquo;</p><p>Those words wilted Antione &ndash; all bulked up &ndash; to tears.&nbsp;</p><p>HE STARTED SPENDING time in the law library, reading about other people&rsquo;s cases in dim lighting, line by line.</p><p>When he wasn&rsquo;t studying in the law library or reading Malcolm X in his cell, he worked in the tailor shop, served in the chow hall and helped out in the general store room. He also was selected to work in the &ldquo;Hot Room,&rdquo; where inmates weren&rsquo;t usually allowed because the products stored there could be used to make hooch.</p><p>&ldquo;Mr. Day works in a highly positive way, is not judgmental and conducts his work and himself in a way that makes it difficult for me to conceive of his shooting a human being or firing a weapon on a public street,&rdquo; a former Pontiac employee, Helen Mays, wrote about Antione. &ldquo;Mr. Day talked to me about his children, his mother, how he helped her in the kitchen and liked to cook, and he would turn his life around if he got out of prison.&rdquo;</p><p>One day, he took it upon himself to write to the superintendent and request instruments. He wanted to form a band. He wanted to be back in the drummer&rsquo;s seat, the driver&rsquo;s seat and ride away.</p><p>Antione found out his request was granted after 30 days of lockdown, the security aftermath of an inmate being stabbed to death. The notice came to him, typed out. Antione would get some instruments, practice space in the chapel and a rehearsal time.</p><p>The drums were old and saggy. They sounded like coffee cans. Antione took a lighter and held it under the plastic, warming it, pulling it taut again. It was an old neighborhood trick he used back when he couldn&rsquo;t afford new drum heads. Tightened and transformed, the tones sounded more like the remembered.</p><p>He held a talent show, auditions of sorts, to scope out the good players. He formed a band, much to the mocking of other inmates, until the group was good and then guys wanted to join in.</p><p>It was the smallest taste of freedom.</p><p>THE FIRST TIME Chicago real estate attorney Howard Joseph came to visit Antione in prison, he didn&rsquo;t call. There was no message. He had been incarcerated for a few years, and even though Joseph started working on his case less than a month after he was sentenced, Antione had never seen his face.</p><p>In a Feb. 24, 1993, letter typed on a typewriter to Antione&rsquo;s mom, 66-year-old Joseph notified her that he had filed a notice of appeal five days earlier. Joseph had taken an interest in the case because his son Rick had worked with Antione&rsquo;s sister at a video duplication company. Before the trial, she asked him if he knew any good lawyers because her brother needed one.</p><p>&ldquo;I never thought in a million years he&#39;d be the one to take the case,&rdquo; Rick Joseph said.&nbsp; He just thought his dad knew a lot of lawyers and could recommend a good one.<br /><br />Antione was in the gym at Pontiac when he was told he had an attorney visit.<br /><br />&ldquo;I ain&#39;t got no attorney visit,&rdquo; Antione said.<br /><br />Antione went to the visitation room. There, a gray-haired white man faced him. He looked like a mix between the TV detective Columbo and the Dos Equis silver fox, but rougher and more tousled. He wore corduroy mocassins as shoes and let his neck tie fall askew. He shuffled when he walked.<br /><br />&ldquo;Sit down,&rdquo; he said.<br /><br />Antione sat.<br /><br />&ldquo;You&#39;re Lee, right?&rdquo; Joseph said, calling him by his proper first name.<br /><br />He nodded.<br /><br />&quot;I&#39;m going to get you out of here, but I want you to be patient. I see what they did to you.&rdquo;<br /><br />Their visits over the years were frequent, but almost always unannounced. Joseph had a way of calling the prison so that the duty warden would put Antione on the phone. Antione would be working out in the gym or working in cold storage processing meat parts, and he&rsquo;d be interrupted and told his attorney was on the phone. The calls were short, to the point.<br /><br />On visits, Joseph would bring <em>Time</em>&nbsp;magazine. They would eat Good Humor ice cream bars together from the vending machines. Toasted almond or strawberry shortcake. Antione would always have the same flavor as him.</p><p>Sometimes, with his briefcase in the center of his chest, Joseph lean forward and asked, &ldquo;Did you do it? Did you do it?&rdquo;</p><p>Antione always told him no. Finally, the courts, after many denials and appeals of the denials, agreed with him.</p><p>Joseph had meticulously gathered affidavits from character witnesses and those present at the crime scene who knew Antione wasn&rsquo;t there. Antione&rsquo;s mother signed an affidavit as well. She wrote that the victim who survived had visited her after the shooting to warn her that Antione was being set up. The judge who found Antione guilty never heard this evidence.</p><p>ANTIONE FOUND OUT he was getting a new trial when he was working out in the prison yard at Stateville Correctional Center in Joliet, Ill., where he had been transferred. A fellow inmate was reading a newspaper and said, &ldquo;Hey, ain&rsquo;t your name Lee?&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Yeah.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;And ain&rsquo;t your name Day?&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Yeah.&rdquo;</p><p>Antione went and snatched the paper from his hands. He read the news and raced inside to phone Joseph.</p><p>&ldquo;Mr. Joe, you&rsquo;re my angel.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Don&rsquo;t call me your angel,&rdquo; Joseph reminded him.</p><p><br />AT A HEARING, Joseph shuffled over to the defense table. His corduroy mocassins &ndash; lounge slippers &ndash; sliding on the courtroom floor.</p><p>&ldquo;People thought he was a joke because of the way he dressed,&rdquo; Antione says.</p><p>Once, an assistant state&rsquo;s attorney whispered to Antione, &ldquo;You&rsquo;re in trouble.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;No, you&rsquo;re in trouble,&rdquo; Antione replied.</p><p>Joseph was always more concerned about what Antione would wear when he was released.</p><p>&ldquo;You should get your mom to bring you some clothes because you&rsquo;re going to walk out of here.&rdquo;</p></p> Mon, 14 Oct 2013 10:57:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/exoneree-diaries/exoneree-diaries-antione-days-fight-freedom-108915