#RepayRay - The Official Campaign
Some debts can never be repaid. This is the story of my hero, Sergeant Ray Jennings, an Iraq-war vet who was just freed after spending 11 years behind bars for a crime he didn't commit. I'm the law student who got him out, but he's the one who inspires me.
Ray joined the Army National Guard when he was 17. Over the next eight years, he got married and had four kids. While training to become a U.S. Marshal, Ray decided to support his family by working part-time as a security guard. That fateful choice cost him everything.
His second night on the job, while patrolling a dark parking lot, he heard gunfire and radioed for help. Four-hundred yards away, a beautiful 18-year-old college student had been murdered inside her parked car.
None of the evidence pointed to Ray. There was no gunshot residue on his uniform, and another man's blood was found under the victim's fingernails. But detectives had no leads, so Ray became their scapegoat.
They insisted he was the killer, but they couldn't arrest him because there was no evidence to support their theory. For five years, nothing changed. Ray's law-enforcement career was ruined by the false accusations, but he stayed in the National Guard and served a tour in Iraq.
When he came home to visit his children, he was arrested at gunpoint and charged with first-degree murder. There was no new evidence. The prosecution had simply decided to roll the dice.
At the first trial in downtown Los Angeles, the jury was unable to reach a verdict. The prosecution tried again, but the second jury was also unwilling to convict Ray. The court agreed to give the State one last chance — and moved the third trial back to the small community where the murder occurred.
There was no way that Ray would get a fair trial. There were billboards of the victim along the roads, and more than 100 articles in local papers had portrayed Ray as a cold-blooded sociopath. The 12 jurors convicted Ray, then went to a candlelight vigil with the victim's parents.
In court, Ray proclaimed his innocence before God. "I sit here as an innocent man, and this is one sin I will not be judged for." He turned to the victim's family and told them that, once the real killer was found, he would forgive them. Then the judge sentenced Ray to life in prison.
A normal man would have lost hope. The California Supreme Court refused to hear Ray's case, so he sat behind bars while his children grew up without him. Two hour-long specials on national TV glorified the police and prosecutors who had put him behind bars.
But Ray Jennings is not a normal man. He always believed that his prayers would be answered, and justice would be served. And he was right.
A year ago, I saw Ray's case on TV and became convinced that he was innocent. I approached my dad, and together we wrote a 34-page letter to the District Attorney's office explaining why Ray should be released from prison.
Last week, we won! The State stipulated that it no longer had faith in Ray's conviction, and agreed that he should be released. After 11 years behind bars, Ray was finally able to walk out of the courtroom a free man.
Now he needs our help rebuilding his life. He was released onto the street without any money, so he is relying on the kindness of strangers to help him get back on his feet. Let's do everything we can to repay him for everything he has gone through!
When Ray was imprisoned, he lost everything — including his career. If he'd been working instead of imprisoned, he would have earned almost $1 million for his family. Instead, he has not a dollar to his name.
Right now, he needs to buy all the things we take for granted: clothes, shoes, food, a phone, a computer, a car, etc. In the long term, it's his dream to move back to North Carolina where he can buy a house to be with his five children and 71-year-old mother.
The government has not agreed to give Ray any compensation for his time in prison. Other exonerated inmates have waited years and years without receiving any payments. Ray shouldn't have to wait another day before getting his life back. Society owes him more than we can ever repay.
All the funds from this campaign will go directly to Ray to help him rebuild his life. My father, Ray's attorney, donated all of his time and will not charge Ray any fees. All the money goes to Ray. Period.
For more information on Ray's case, please visit our law firm's website at www.EhrlichFirm.com
Clinton and Jeff Elrick, you are amazing men and I wish you all the best life has to offer. You are a true picture of what it looks like to give to others when you know they can't give anything to you in return. May God return to you 100 fold for your allowing Him to use you in this case! God bless!
I found this: The federal government, the District of Columbia, and 30 states have statutes that allow compensation for wrongful prison sentences. But the amounts vary wildly, and not everybody who has been wrongfully convicted and then set free will get any money. At the lower end, Wisconsin offers $5,000 per year with a cap of $25,000 total. By contrast, in Texas, exonerees can get $80,000 per year of imprisonment, plus an annuity payment every year for the rest of their lives and access to the same state health care plan used by their former jailers. Some states, like Maryland, don’t specify an amount at all. The Innocence Project, for its part, recommends that exonerees be paid a minimum of $50,000 per year of incarceration — a number that was basically picked at random, said Paul Cates, the group’s communications director. “My understanding is that the $50,000 number is just ‘There’s no way we could properly compensate anyone, so let’s just throw out a number,’” he said. Sources familiar with the process that led to Texas’s relatively generous compensation statute said that number was similarly based in the gut rather than the head. Since 2001, lawmakers in Texas have simply ratcheted the number up, making small increases bit by bit whenever they were able to lick a finger, stick it in the air, and feel the political breeze. http://undark.org/article/life-false-imprisonment-compensation/
As a current National Guard Soldier I express my my Humble Thanks to Sgt. Jennings for his Honorable Service to his Family and Country, and a more Humble apology on behalf of an L.A. County Judicial system gone rogue. You see Atty. Houchin, who misdefended Ray in 3 Homicide Trials, including Mr. Houchin excluding vital Law Enforcement testimony of the previous 2 Trials in the 3rd Trial, whom the Prosecutor prevented that witness's previous transcript being read to the Jury, due to the Hearsay Rule. Houchin, as a seasoned professional, would've already been knowledgeable of that issue. This, plus nonobjection by Houchin or the Judge of the Prosecutor's highly bogus and erroneous closing arguement to the Jury for them to find Ray guilty based solely by his proximate presence to the crime scene sealed Sgt. Jennings fate. How do I know this ? Houchin equally misdefended 2 close friends of mine, Mike and Katrina Gentry, wrongfully accused of Child Abuse in the death of their Daughter Lindsay, despite highly favorable and credible Forensic Pathology testimony. Their 1st Trial, unlike Sgt. Jennings Trial was actually a hung Jury favoring acquittal. The Prosecutor pursued Retrial of Mike and Katrina, and just like Ray's 3rd Trial, Houchin excluded crucial evidence vital to their case, as well as failing to place any Defendants on the stand in these matters sealed their fate. In Sgt. Jennings case, considering his exemplary background, this is inexcusable. Houchin appears to be a Prosecutor's dream to have opposing them at the Defense table in the Criminal Courtroom.
Main Entry: innocent Part of Speech: adjective Definition: blameless Synonyms: above suspicion, angelic, chaste, clean, cleanhanded, clear, crimeless, exemplary, faultless, free of, good, guilt-free, guiltless, honest, immaculate, impeccable, impeccant, in the clear, inculpable, irreproachable, lawful, legal, legitimate, licit, not guilty, pristine, pure, righteous, safe, sinless, spotless, stainless, unblemished, uncensurable, uncorrupt, unimpeachable, uninvolved, unoffending, unsullied, untainted, upright, virginal, virtuous. So happy for you and your family.
Love and prayers for happy, healthy life from here on out. I have a lot of respect for what you said to the victims family ! I cannot imagine being accused of such a horrific crime and found guilty..I hope you will be able to get everything you dream of from here on out. We cannot give you back those years, but we can make the next years of your life a little easier with financial support. You deserve the best our world has to offer.
Hi, I have been writing to Ray for about 1 1/2 years. I also knew from the TV show that he was innocent. Praise God he is out now! Ray will call me soon, but I wondered what kind of evidence did you find to free him? Did Richardson finally talk? Did the DNA under her nails point to someone on file? What did the O'Keffe say? Dr. Scott Corder
Ray, tonight I watched your full story on dateline, I felt your innocence from the very beginning and like everyone else when you uttered your stunning statement to the brother in court I screamed so loud because I felt every word... I screamed one more time when I saw you walk free... I am soooo happy for you, you're an amazing man. You are loved...
God bless you man
Today's been one of the happiest days of my life! Because I just found out that Ray, someone whose story greatly touched and angered me years ago is now out of prison. I'd randomly picked the original Dateline episode to watch, (for the umpteenth time.) Then I idly surfed the internet for updates. You can imagine my joy at the news! From the very 1st time I ever watched Ray's story I knew with 100% conviction that his conviction was 100% wrong! It's become too easy for some on-the- spot, first-on-scene witnesses to evolve into prime suspects, & ultimately take the fall for want of a better candidate to fit the bill! I applaud the Ehrlich father & son duo for their boldness and dedication to free Ray. I salute Sgt Jennings for staying positive & upbeat, keeping the faith in the face of adversity and for placing his life completely in the hands of the God that he serves. And I praise the Lord for restoring this hero to his children. Best wishes Sargent! And many, many thanks, Clinton!!
God Bless You Sergeant Ray Jennings.
I so glad someone finally seen the truth in this caes and a innocent man has been set free to rebuild his life, God bless all who were involved. I wrote to him every chance I had and believed in his innocents as well did thousands. My hat goes off to you all. Deeply greatful