Because of a 2012 Maryland Court of Appeals ruling on flawed jury instructions, David Belton, 69, and 60 other convicted robbers, killers and rapists whose cases were tried before 1980 have been released from prison early, says the Washington Post. He never imagined texting on a smartphone, ordering burrito bowls at Chipotle or celebrating birthdays with his daughter, who was six months old when Belton was locked up.
Belton was imprisoned for killing a suspected drug dealer in 1973. He wrote in a book in prison called “Each Night I Die.” During four decades of incarceration, Belton transformed himself into a model inmate. He earned two degrees and became the director of a youth-mentoring program. “Prison can be a cursing life, a lonely life and a miserable life,” Belton said. “But it is what we make it.” He has found work as a janitor, and hopes to find work mentoring teens and to reissue his book.