Wrongfully convicted man looking for job, restoration

It has been five months since a man who spent 32 years in prison for crimes he did not commit was freed. He wrote a book, and enjoys motivational speaking, but he has yet to find a job. His attorneys are still working on getting him restoration.

MIAMI – A man who spent 32 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit is now looking for a job and restoration as a free man.

A judge vacated Thomas Raynard James on April 26 for a 1990 robbery and murder in Coconut Grove.

Following a conviction for something he didn’t do, 32 years were snatched away from James.

James who goes by “Jay” is now thankful for freedom and never wavered in his fight for freedom, advocating for himself for over three decades.

The 55-year-old who missed out on so much got to experience his first train ride, did some shopping and got his license again.

James told Local 10′s Bridgette Matter that life hasn’t been the fairy tale that he’d imagined and sometimes the nightmare he escaped from creeps back in.

“When I dream, they said they made a mistake, then they came back and re-arrest me,” said James.

James says he is keeping busy selling the book he wrote in prison but he is still looking for a job while taking care of his mother.

James is not qualified for post-conviction relief but his legal team is still seeking compensation from the state after being locked up for 32 years.

“It was more of a fairy tale-- it just don’t work that way,” he said. ”I just thought I would get back home and everything would get back to normal.”

When asked what were his goals in the next 5 years, James said, “In 5 years I don’t know, I might be married by then.”

Family members created a GoFundMe page to raise what they call emergency support funds for James. The page can be found by clicking here.


About the Authors:

Bridgette Matter joined the Local 10 News team as a reporter in July 2021. Before moving to South Florida, she began her career in South Bend, Indiana and spent six years in Jacksonville as a reporter and weekend anchor.

Ryan Mackey is our newest digital journalist at WPLG. He is New York born and South Florida raised.