1,000 Words: The wrongfully convicted

There is a grace around Richard Phillips that one often sees in people who have been wrongfully convicted and had their lives stolen by a system that, too often, doesn’t work.

Today he went free when all charges against him for a 1971 homicide were dismissed in a Detroit courtroom. A witness had lied and Phillips went to prison for 45 years.

He said the system “works (though) not fast enough.”

Richard Phillips, right, hugs Det. Patricia Little in a Wayne County, Mich., courtroom on Wednesday, March 28, 2018, in Detroit. Phillips, a Michigan man whose murder conviction was thrown out after he spent 45 years in prison will not face a second trial. (AP Photo/Ed White)

“There’s nothing that I can say to bring back 40 years of his life. The system failed him. There’s no question about it,” the prosecutor said during a news conference.

Phillips, now 71, would like to find his children, who were 2 and 4 when he went to prison. He’s not heard from them and he has no idea where they are.

In Chicago this week, another wrongfully convicted man got his old job back. Nevest Coleman is 49 now, having spent two decades in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. The cops had told him if he confessed to a crime, he could go home. So he confessed. And went to prison.

His name was cleared by a judge this month and the Chicago White Sox gave him his old job back, as if they were doing him a favor.