BY: The Exoneration Project

Some Good Things

From left to right: (John, Charles, and Charles’ co-exoneree Larod Styles)
From left to right: (Larod Styles and his EP co-exoneree Charles Johnson and John Horton) (John Horton)

By Staff Attorney Josh Tepfer

It is Friday afternoon. I’ve had an ummm… frustrating day shall we say. Watching my news feed doesn’t make it any better. Time to focus on some good things. Here’s a quick list, in no particular order.

  • My clients John Horton and Charles Johnson are really good friends. They play handball together, playfully rip on each other, share stories, and talk about their lives. They do what good friends do. But up until a couple months ago, they did all that behind prison bars.  Now they do it at John’s house. Or bowling alleys.
  • My next door refurbishes old computers. A couple weeks ago he came over to my house with this beautiful laptop in a nice black carrying case. He told me he read about one of my exonerated client’s cases in the paper. He was so moved, that he built my client a computer. My client wrote a thank you note to my neighbor. In the thank you note, my client noted how the present was particularly helpful for job searching and for my client’s son, who was going to school in the fall. One week later, my neighbor showed up with a second computer with a note that this one was for my client’s son.
  • I work with just the greatest people. They are all incredible lawyers and advocates. Each and every one of them. Just absolutely relentless, zealous, and caring representatives for their clients. And you know what is even better than that: In my almost two years working here, I’ve never once heard anyone raise their voice in anger toward a colleague. Not a single time. Incredibly supportive environment and a great place to come to work everyday.
  • Here’s a secret. I absolutely love driving carpool for my nine-year-old’s Hebrew School. I love it when it is my turn. I drive it with two of her closest friends. They are all just great girls. And I just love being a fly on the wall in the front seat, listening to them talk and laugh.
  • One week ago today, three of my colleagues were down in Springfield awaiting a jury verdict after a grueling two-week trial. As the jury entered the courtroom, everyone up north in Chicago was gathered in one office watching the live feed on one computer. There must have been 20 of us in that office. And when we heard those two words – not guilty – our office erupted in cheers. Congratulations on having your life back Curt Lovelace! As Jon Loevy put it: A wrongful conviction avoided.