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Welcome Home John


Contribute to our "Final Stretch Fund" to cover the expenses for our remaining work and/or make a donation toward our
"Welcome Home John" package.

Learn more about John's case through the links below.  

Shooting | Evolving Description & Identification | Police Investigation | Alibi |Alternative Suspect |  Pretrial Investigation | Trial | Post-Trial Litigation | John's Pleas for Help | Innocence Matters Investigation | Help Us Help John

 We're so very close to securing John's freedom . . . help us finish the job!

Since January 2010, Innocence Matters staff, interns, and volunteers have donated well over a thousand hours to investigate and collect evidence of John's innocence.  Our team then presented John's compelling case of innocence in a 100-page habeas petition, supported with several hundred pages of exhibits.  We are now nearing the end of our journey.  

We remain extremely hopeful that the prosecution will acknowledge the merits of our petition.  It took Judge Espinoza only seven days to see the strength of John's legal claims and issue this order to show cause.  The district attorney's continues to evaluate John's case and, we believe, has been sincere and thorough in their efforts to find the truth.  Given the multitude of evidence in favor of innocence, we believe the prosecutors will ultimately support John's exoneration.  

Although we are optimistic that John will be exonerated without protracted litigation, it is still possible that we will have to conduct a lengthy evidentiary hearing
.  In either scenario, we are confident that, based on the strength of John's innocence case, he will soon be reunited with his family.  

We must be prepared to effectively respond to either contingency.  Our Final Stretch Fund will be used to cover the costs of a possible evidentiary hearing.  Funds collected through the Welcome Home John campaign will be used to help John make the transition from prison to normal life.  Details for each campaign can be found below.

Innocence Matters Work 
(so far)

1,500+ donated hours
$10,000+ out-of-pocket

  • in-depth interviews with Smith at prison
  • locating/retrieving case documents
  • reviewing litigation history
  • interviewing half-dozen previous lawyers & investigators
  • interviewing all known witnesses
  • locating new witnesses
  • prison visits throughout state to interview incarcerated witnesses
  • gathering supporting documentation
  • visiting crime scene and alibi location
  • consulting with experts
  • legal research
  • drafting habeas petition
  • preparing affidavits
Supporting Records
John's Poly: 7/27/10
Recantation: 7/30/10
Wit.'s Poly: 9/3/10
IM State Habeas Pet.Filed: 10/29/10
Supp.: 9/30/11 

* * * * *
Remaining Innocence Matters Work 

Estimated time: 200 hours
Estimated expenses: $5,000

  • interview newly discovered witnesses
  • obtain affidavits
  • subpoena dozens of witnesses
  • prepare demonstrative evidence for hearing
  • consult experts
  • prepare for contested hearing
* * * * *
What Would You Suggest? 

We want John to succeed.  

Help us find the resources he needs to start his new life!

John's needs:
  • a job, any job to start
  • job skills/training
  • a better job/career
  • clothes
  • transportation
  • communication tools (computer, cell, internet)
  • inspiration, support and anything that will keep him positive
  • higher education
  • financial security
  • community support
  • company of good people
  • some time to have fun (Magic Mountain?) 
  • a chance

Final Stretch Fund!  
Goal:  $5,000

The evidentiary hearing will entail many additional hours of pro bono legal services, many road trips, and considerable out-of-pocket costs to subpoena dozens of witnesses, some of whom are out-of-state; prepare direct and/or cross-examination; prepare demonstrative aids; conduct additional online research; draft reply to any opposition filed; consult experts; interview newly-discovered exculpatory witnesses; and so much more.  

You can help bring an innocent man home!   

1) Donate: Make your tax-deductible donation to the John Smith fund, in whatever amount you can afford, by clicking this button.


Or send a check payable to Innocence Matters with "John Smith Fund" noted in the memo section to:
Innocence Matters
PO Box 212678
Chula Vista, CA 91921

2) Spread the word:  Ask your friends and family to join our efforts by sending a donation of $10 or more.   Think of other people in your network who care about innocence, truth and justice.  Let them know how they can make a difference.

Welcome Home John!  
Goal:  $5,000 

Soon, John Smith will walk out of prison--a 36-year-old man--with nothing but the clothes on his back.  Let's help him get off to a good start!

The Basics: John will need to hit the ground running.  He can stay with family while he gets set up with a job and a place of his own.  He will still need all the basics--clothes, shoes, toiletries, food, a way to commute--to get started with his job search.

Job #1--Getting a Job: John has his GED.  He has some construction experience.  He is bright, articulate, reflective, physically fit and strong, and eager to learn.  He is willing to do any type of job. 

Beyond the BasicsJohn has a lot of time to make up for and his ambitions extend far beyond acquiring the basics.  In order to succeed, John will need the tools and resources of a modern society.  

An education.

Maybe you know of a a scholarship or grant program that John qualifies for? Share it with us.

Tools of the trade.

In order to become marketable, John will need to acquire job skills and experiences to add to his resume. He will need a laptop, a prepaid cell phone, and internet service to effectively look for a job.  

A steady diet of inspiration. 

No matter how strong or resilient John is, he is going to have to contend with the flood of conflicting emotions that any exoneree must experience.  

Help John make a smooth transition back to society!   

1) Shop & SendNext time you are out shopping, pick up a gift certificate at a clothing store, shoe store, book store, a grocery chain, or a department store for John and send it to us.  (Please make sure that companies have an Los Angeles branch)
  • Look for our Wish List for John here soon!
2) Donate to Innocence Matters & let us do the shopping for you: Make your tax-deductible donation to the John Smith Fund, in whatever amount you can afford, by clicking this button.


Or send a check payable to Innocence Matters with "John Smith Fund" noted in the memo section to:
Innocence Matters
PO Box 212678
Chula Vista, CA 91921

3) Tell Us About a Useful Resource:  
  • someone who is looking for workers--even for a temporary position? 
  • an organization that provides job placement services for people like John?
  • a skill's program that will help John become more marketable quicker? 
  • a scholarship or education grant?
  • a contact at an electronics store who you think might be willing to donate a computer, cell phone, and/or a year's worth of wireless internet and cell phone service?
  • anything else that would help John get off to a good start? 
If so, tell us about them!