"Rebuilding the Lives of the Wrongfully Convicted"

Chol Soo Lee


 chol soo lee Convicted of: Murder
State: California
Served: 10 years
Released: 1983
Compensated by State: No
Current Status: Disabled
Health Insurance: MediCal/MediCare
Then: In 1973, the San Francisco Police Department and prosecutors were working hard to solve 16 murder cases related to Chinatown gang wars. Wah Chang gang violence was prevalent and there was political pressure to attach suspects to these crimes. At the time, Chol Soo was working as a part-time cook and Broadway barker for strip clubs. Chol Soo became the victim of overzealous prosecution and was indicted for one of these murders. Due to poor representation by his defense attorney as well as misidentification, Chol Soo was convicted of murder in 1973. In 1983, Chol Soo was exonerated from this crime and reintegrated into San Francisco society. 

Now: Chol Soo is in the process of writing his autobiography, which focuses on his wrongful imprisonment and the feelings surrounding that experience. Telling his story holds therapeutic value for Chol Soo; not only does he hope to build awareness about the realities facing the wrongfully incarcerated, recounting his story is helping him to heal from the trauma of his experience. Chol Soo enjoys helping others to change their lives and find freedom. Chol Soo wants to help deter youth from gang violence and incarceration, as well as to speak and share his story to those suffering from alcohol and drug addiction. Chol Soo states, “You do not have to be locked up to be incarcerated. Your mind can become shackled even if you are a free man.”

Hometown: San Francisco, California

  • An attorney to review his compensation statutes.
  • Part-time employment or contract employment that allows him to help others by counseling and facilitating groups of at-risk youth or adults.
  • A publisher for his book (not yet complete).