“The sun does shine.” These were the words Anthony Ray Hinton spoke while embracing loved ones after being released from the Jefferson County Jail in Birmingham, Alabama.
Hinton was released April 3, 2015 after becoming one of the longest serving death row prisoners in state history.
In 1985, he was arrested and charged with two capital murders. The arrest was made based solely on the insistence that a gun taken from his mother’s house was the same gun used in the murders and another crime.
The Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) attempted to get a new trial for Hinton in 2002 with expert testimony from top firearm experts in the country. However it was not until 2012 when the Supreme Court intervened and granted Hinton with a new trial.
Legal social justice activist Bryan Stevenson described Hinton’s situation stating, “Race, poverty, inadequate legal assistance, and prosecutorial indifference to innocence conspired to create a textbook example of injustice. I can’t think of a case that more urgently dramatizes the need for reform than what has happened to Anthony Ray Hinton.”
Today, Hinton exercised his right to vote. The EJI sent a tweet to mark the occasion, highlighting the continued need for justice for formerly incarcerated people.
Anthony Hinton is an EJI Community Educator and advocate for the abolition of the death penalty according to the organization's website.
In the weeks following Election Day, social justice activists will continue the work of restoring rights to formerly incarcerated people.
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