Help Lee rebuild his life after spending 25 years wrongly imprisoned for crimes he did not commit.
raised by 287 people
On Thursday afternoon, Darrell Lee Clark walked out of the Floyd County Courthouse Jail and into the arms of family in time to celebrate his first Christmas as a free man in more than two decades. His release came just moments after a hearing on his extraordinary motion for a new trial based on newly discovered evidence. The Rome Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office agreed that Clark’s conviction should be overturned and quickly dismissed all underlying charges against Clark, officially exonerating him of the 1996 shooting death of his friend.
“You never think something like that is going to happen to you,” said Lee Clark, who was arrested when he was just 17 years old. “Never would I have thought I would spend more than half my life in prison, especially for something I didn’t do. I'm just glad the truth finally came to light after 25 years. I'm so thankful for the Georgia Innocence Project and Proof Podcast for what they did. Without them, I would still be in prison."
Clark’s exoneration followed filings by his attorneys largely predicated upon new evidence of police misconduct during law enforcement’s initial investigation into the case. “Official misconduct was certainly a contributing factor in Lee’s case, just as it has been in over 50% of wrongful conviction cases. What we should take away from this is that unfettered power, without proper checks and balances, leaves ripe the opportunity for mistakes and misconduct. Proper oversight, coupled with educational initiatives designed to prevent and correct wrongful convictions, is key,” said Hurley. “Prosecutors have a duty to see that justice is done in their cases, and that necessarily includes a commitment to principles of integrity, equity, and accountability. It is imperative that they are willing to take corrective action when they see injustice, including when the injustice is perpetrated by police.”
Lee is reuniting with his family and plans to rebuild his life in Cave Springs, GA - close to where his family now lives. He is eager to get a job, reconnect with loved ones, and make up for precious time that was taken from him. Unfortunately, Georgia is one of 12 states that does not currently have a statutory compensation law, which would provide financial relief for years lost to wrongful conviction. Without one, exonerees like Lee can be left on their own, with virtually no support from the State, to rebuild their lives.
With that in mind, this personal fundraiser is a way to help Lee get back on his feet. With your support, Lee can use these funds to establish medical care, secure transportation and basic necessities, and support himself and his family long-term.
ALL funds raised on this MightyCause fundraiser will go directly to Darrell Lee Clark and his immediate family and are not tax-deductible.
If you have any questions or concerns about this, please feel free to contact Georgia Innocence Project Program Manager Mike Coszalter at (404) 373-4433.
A personal fundraiser by
Georgia Innocence Project