On Release, Prisoner Heads to San Diego for a Special Meeting

Freed from jail, go directly to meet those responsible ... for your release.

By John Adams
|  Sunday, May 16, 2010  |  Updated 2:45 PM PDT
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On Release, Prisoner Heads to San Diego for a Special Meeting

AP

After 16 years in prison, a Los Angeles man thanks those responsible for his freedom.

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A Los Angeles man released from prison after 16 years met the team of San Diego-based lawyers and students who worked to free him.

Instead of going straight home Saturday morning, Reggie Cole made a detour to California Western School of Law in San Diego, reported the San Diego Union-Tribune.

"He wanted to meet a lot of the students who had worked on his case," Justin Brooks, director of the school's California Innocence Project, told the newspaper.

Cole had been sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for a botched robbery in South Los Angeles that ended with the death of a clerk. Roughly a dozen students and a dozen lawyers worked more than three years to prove that Cole had been wrongfully convicted of a 1994 robbery and murder in South Los Angeles.

His case received a second look in 2000 after he charged with killing an Calipatria inmate, a crime for which he could have received the death penalty. Los Angeles lawyer Christopher Plourd represented Cole in the jail- house killing, successfully arguing that Cole had been acting in self-defense.

Plourd also found holes in Cole's original conviction, and alerted the California Innocence Project, reported the newspaper. The project's team proved that Cole had poor legal representation and cast doubt on eyewitness testimony that had been critical in convicting Cole.

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