NEW ORLEANS (WGNO)— The core mission of Innocence Project New Orleans is exonerating innocent people. People who are in prison for crimes they did not commit. They’ve done this work in our city for 21 years and Sullivan Walter is the latest man they helped set free.

According to Walter, “I was tried and convicted for a rape that knew nothing of and I served 36 years of my life wrongfully.”

Walter was 17 years old when he was arrested in 1986 and charged with rape. He says he always maintained his innocence, and that his family tried to help, but it was a family of little means.

“There may be things that your family may not be able to do, not that they don’t want to help but there are many families, many poor families that are unable to help,” Walter told WGNO’s LBJ.

Help came last year in the form of Innocence Project New Orleans. They’ve helped exonerate 42 people who served, as a collective almost 1000 years behind bars.

In the case of Walter, evidence from the trial and appeal that clearly showed his innocence was available but fairly present.

Richard Davis Legal Director, stated, “What was shocking about this case was is not so well the injustice was hidden, but the lack of effort one seemed to have made to hide the injustice, it was pretty much right out in the open just no one had done anything about it.”

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