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Michael Phillips has been spending most of his time these days living in a tiny room in a no-frills northeast Dallas nursing home.Until recently, he had a roommate who slept in a bed 2 feet away, and staff brought him three square meals a day.

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Only a few hours passed each day in which he didn't think about his burden of four decades: being a convicted sex offender.That was before Friday,

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when Phillips was officially exonerated by Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins' Conviction Integrity Unit, which determined via DNA testing that he was falsely convicted. The state will now pay him handsomely for its mistake.

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It was a first-of-its-kind exoneration in that Phillips wasn't clamoring for vindication. As was the case when he accepted a plea deal in 1990, he felt that his race would preclude him from getting a fair shake in the justice system, so he just accepted his plight.After entering hisplea,

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Phillips, a 57-year-old African-American who grew up in New Orleans, served 12 years in a Texas prison for the rape of a 16-year-old white girl at a Dallas motel where he'd worked as a maintenance man.Confined to a wheelchair due to his battle with sickle cell anemia, Phillips has been out of jail since 2002. He has been living in nursing homes the past few years as his health has spiraled downward.

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Though he's been out of prison for 12 years, he considers his life one long sentence, as he was forced to wear the branding of a convicted sex offender.

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In his first week as a free man, Phillips is overjoyed and struggles to put his emotions into words, instead pointing to the spirituality that helped him cope all these years."A-W-E doesn't describe the feeling.

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I don't know if they got a word that describes how I feel. To have a leash taken off my neck and off my ankle, I know how my ancestors felt when they got free,"

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he said.Falsely AccusedAccording to the Dallas Police Department report from September 28, 1990,

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the victim was awakened by a man wearing a black and white ski mask.While struggling with the man and biting his hand several times,

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the victim told police, she pulled up her assailant's mask and recognized him as Phillips, a man she had seen living at the motel.The following month,

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detectives showed the victim a six-picture lineup, and she again identified Phillips as the man who raped her.(The Dallas Police Department no longer presents photos side by side,

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because the district attorney's office says it suggests that the perpetrator must be present and compels the victim to pick one.)It didn't help that Phillips had a record.

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In an interview with CNN, Phillips acknowledged committing a home burglary when he was 19."Being young and foolish, there were things you do that were juvenile,"

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he said.But at 32, he was trying to make an honest living and was shocked to hear that he was being charged with a rape that he hadn't committed.

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He feels that the prior burglary conviction and a "broken criminal justice system" were to blame for the bad advice he got next."The first paid public defender came in there and said, '

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Mr. Phillips, the DA went back and saw that you just got out of prison a couple of years ago, so they want to lock you up for 99 years.' He thought he was doing me a favor. He said, '

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You could get life, so you are going to take this 99 years.' "

godisd, 8/1/2014 12:37:24 AM
Its you know who lou...
now WARRIOR using the omega instead of O....
It works out I am now locked out of our group/team I can't remember can still message me over on MFP
WARRIOR, 1/5/2014 4:01:49 PM

marry Christmas to you .
i wish we could be
friendly in good lovely
relationship,if you could
be sincere and lovely,well i
do cherish your profile,with whom
i shall be delighted to build a long
lasting relationship with.age and distance
no problem,privately send me a reply to my email
address( i get back
at you including my picture. I shall hopefully wait for
your reply.Yours,

lorj8, 12/27/2012 6:20:27 PM
New to peertrainer and browsing. Found Lynetta and was drawn in. Very inspiring and in so many ways how I think. Not sure how I got to this page, is this a group, team, or what. Would love to participate here if that is ok. I am 56 yrs old, pretty much an open book, let go of most of the shame in my life over years of therapy. I guess now I will put that to the test. I am 5 ft tall, 190 pounds. I have decided that the magic pill, the easy way out, the somebody else to make me feel better IS ME. I believe support and accountability is paramount. I have a loving, and supportive partner but she struggles as well so I need help outside of this relationship too. Hoping to get that here at peertrainer.
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mandyyang, 8/27/2011 10:15:21 PM
Hey Char, Your Daddy would be so proud of you, knowing you're continuing this challenge to be healthy. The love you have for each other will be with you always. love, 'Chelle
richelle, 7/30/2011 8:44:05 PM
heyyy woman.. missed you.. im getting back on track its been a lil over two weeks and its hard, but life has to go on. hugsss good to see You back.. if you need to talk im here.. my yahoo is
lynneta, 7/18/2011 2:52:17 PM
Lynneta, it's me, trimnslim. After my mom's death in February, I took a break from PT. I decided to check in on you today for the first time and noticed your comment about the loss of your Father. I am so sorry to hear this. I know your pain.... I will keep you and your family in my prayers.

I did slip...we do need to care for ourselves - they want that for us. Hugs.
trimnslim, 7/10/2011 5:40:42 PM
Char, I'm so sorry to hear about your Dad. It sounds like he wants to go. I lost my Dad 3.5 years ago and I know how difficult it is. You have the right mindset right now. Overeating won't help you, your Dad, your Mom, the rest of your family. Stay strong and take care of you so you can help take care of them. We're all rooting for you here. Love, 'Chelle
richelle, 6/25/2011 5:36:08 PM
Wow. And I thought 35 pounds was a difficult goal to achieve! You are an inspiration. I will be watching your progress and will check your profile whenever I lose motivation. YOU ROCK! Dee
DeeLady, 1/22/2011 10:55:26 PM
76 Items Found | Page 1 of 8