Almost one year ago I wrote the following related to a story that caught national headlines. Tim Masters – wrongly imprisoned was angry and bitter. Then I wrote:
As I rose this a.m. – checking e-mail, CNN – just checking in with the world I was faced with another article on Tim Masters – the Fort Collins, Colorado man who was wrongly imprisoned for 9 years. This must have been an eternity, especially for an innocent man. Having spent time in federal prison (justly deserved – as I was guilty), I know that prison can change you. But, as a business ethics and fraud prevention speaker, it wasn’t the wrongful imprisonment that caught my attention, it was the lead line of the article.
CNN’s writer states: “Tim Masters squarely blames Fort Collins, Colorado, police and prosecutors for his inability to land gainful employment and for his not having a wife and kids at this stage in his life.” The full CNN article can be found here.
Today, February 16, 2010 – some 10 days short of a year – CNN reports that Tim Masters may never get his life back (not completely), but $4.1 million as a settlement of a suit for wrongful imprisonment helps. CNN reports:
It won’t make up for almost a decade of imprisonment, but a $4.1 million settlement is a “good start,” one of Tim Masters’ attorneys said Tuesday.
The Larimer County, Colorado, Board of Commissioners voted earlier Tuesday to settle a lawsuit that Masters filed after a judge exonerated him on a murder charge that put him behind bars in 1999.
“There’s no dollar figure that’s going to give him back his 10 years,” said David Wymore, one of the attorneys who represented Masters in the case. “Tim just wishes this never happened to him, but it did.”
Masters’ co-counsel David Lane emphasized there is still a lawsuit pending against the city and that Tuesday’s settlement represented only a “good start” to compensating a man who was “framed for a crime he did not commit.”
One year ago I wrote – Every choice has a consequence. There must have been reasons that Tim was considered a suspect in the first place. Not that it was his fault, but evaluating those actions (way back then) might prove to be powerful lessons to youth today. Tim has a powerful story. He can have an impact. He will be heard. The power to reach out to others and help them discover what and/or who they are and how their choices can shape their life is powerful.
I hope that as the issues with his suits against those involved in his wrongful imprisonment wind down that Tim can find some peace and channel his energy into using his experience to help others. Tim has been a victim of a judicial system gone bad. Yet, Tim has also emerged victorious in that truth came to light and (in a sense) he’s having his day in court. No…money cannot replace the time lost, but then was it lost or has his experience created a foundation for him that can help others?
Tim…are you a victim or a victor? Money aside…which is it?
YOUR COMMENTS ARE WELCOME!