Hupy and Abraham, S.C. client Alphonso James talks about being wrongfully convicted of first-degree murder and serving decades in prison. He was freed with the help of the Wisconsin Innocence Project, a cause that Firm President Michael Hupy supports.
Alphonso James: “I went to prison when I was sixteen years old. The police said they wanted to question some kids about a murder in the area and I was one of those kids that they questioned and I didn’t know how to read or write at the time. And I told them, “Man I didn’t kill nobody.” But they never believed me. Finally one of the detectives came back downstairs and said “well your mother is downstairs in the lobby waiting for you. All you have to do is a sign a paper and leave.” I signed the paper with the expectation that I was going to go home with my mother and everything will be over and they told me that I signed a confession. I didn’t do it. So I was waived to adult court and sentenced to 99 years which is a life sentence in Milwaukee. Wisconsin rather. And years later a lot of the warden and the guards, they started telling me: “your attitude. What are you in prison for?” I said I didn’t do it. So eventually throughout time, people started taking notice and said my actions didn’t line up with that as I was characterized. So the warden personally got involved and got in contact with the Innocence Project in Madison and low and behold they got on board right away. It took us fifteen years before we finally found something going. So we are working on a book right now. It called “Saved by the cell,” it sort a play on words because prison, as negative as it was, it was one of the places that saved my life. So I took advantage of it, went to college, got a culinary arts degree, a theology degree. And was able to organize different programs in prison to help men when they are released back into the community to have jobs to have a safe place to go to. That’s why I’ve been so involved in our community. I would like to personally thank Michael Hupy for being an incredible voice for those who are innocent and proven innocent. DNA is an incredible tool to get men and women and those who are falsely accused out of prison. Thanks to the Innocence Project, thank you to the staff at Hupy and Abraham and especially, Mr. Hupy. Thank you for being a voice for us, for believing in us. Thank you very much.”