For all the bad things happening in the world today, it is refreshing to know that sometimes good things happen to good people.
On Wednesday, October 28, one of my firm’s pro bono clients, Dewey Bozella, was released from prison after spending the last 26 years incarcerated for the 1977 murder of 92-year old Emma Crapser in Poughkeepsie, New York – a crime that he did not commit. Dewey was released from state custody directly from a Dutchess County courtroom after an Assistant District Attorney announced in open court that the prosecution did not have any evidence available to re-try Dewey. In the presence of CBS News television cameras and photographers from the New York Times and several local media outlets, Dewey’s shackles were removed, he embraced his family and friends, and he walked out of the courtroom a free man.
Dewey’s fight to clear his name took 32 years. However, now that he is free – for the first time in 26 years – he faces a new set of challenges. Dewey has never had a job. We are confident that Dewey will be able to find one, but the reality is that Dewey will likely start at the bottom and it will take time for him to gain responsibility and increase his compensation. Although Dewey is fortunate to have Trena by his side for emotional support, Trena is unable to work after recently undergoing a series of major surgeries. Dewey left the courtroom last week with nothing but $153 dollars and a suit on his back (purchased by our firm).
How We Are Helping Dewey. Our team is determined to stand by Dewey’s side during these challenging times. We are working tirelessly to find media to spread Dewey’s story. We engage in such efforts not only to raise awareness about the injustices that Dewey has suffered, but also to help Dewey find financial support to enable his family to live comfortably during this critical time of his readjustment into society. We are also reaching out to universities and other institutions seeking to obtain paid speaking engagements for Dewey. However, these speaking engagements cannot be set up overnight, and are not a permanent source of income. We are working with the Osborne Society to help find Dewey a job, enroll him in social service programs, and ensure that he and his family have appropriate medical care. Finally, our team members have reached into their own pockets and made personal donations to help Dewey get back on his feet, to get him some suitable clothing, and to help Dewey and Trena move into a slightly larger apartment.
How You Can Help. While it is difficult for most of us to make ends meet in today’s economy, I ask that, if you can, please help Dewey. We have set up the following ways to contribute to Dewey’s transition: You can make a donation by credit card via PayPal (use the email address firstname.lastname@example.org), or make a purchase off of Dewey and Trena’s Wal-Mart registry (which our team helped them set up and includes Wal-Mart gift cards for sale). Please feel free to share this with others who may support Dewey’s cause and wish to help.