"Rebuilding the Lives of the Wrongfully Convicted"

James Newsome


 newsome 91 Convicted of: Murder and armed robbery 
State: Illinois
Served: 15 years
Released: 1994
Compensated by State:  $140,350 in 1997; $15 million in 2003
Current Status:  Self-employed
Health Insurance:  Yes
Then: In 1979 James Newsome was living on the South Side of Chicago when a white grocer was shot to death in a local convenience store. Officers from the Area 2 police station, known for corruption and abuse, made Newsome their prime suspect. Eyewitnesses misidentified him in a police lineup, one of whom later said he was told to pick number three from the line. Newsome was number three. Newsome claims his attorney was inept was eventually convicted by an all-white jury. "People believe that when you sit at the defense table," Newsome said in an interview, "you're guilty." He served fifteen years before fingerprints from the crime scene (which never matched Newsome's) were matched to an already-incarcerated criminal.  

Now: After After his release, Newsome won a multi-million-dollar lawsuit against the City of Chicago, the largest compensation ever awarded to an exoneree. He now owns a shoe store called Heelz.

Hometown: Chicago, Illinois