Two men with similar stories Monday left 26th and California knowing they can start new lives without criminal convictions clouding their past.
Robert Bouto was convicted in connection with a shooting death back in 1993--a conviction based on a forced confession.
"I feel amazing," he said. "I fell amazing, (it's a) big burden lifted off my shoulders."
Anthony Jakes was only 15 when a false confession lead to his conviction for a 1991 murder in the back of the yards neighborhood his family has been fighting for him since then.
"I just want to say I wish my grandmother and my mother were here to celebrate this with me, because they was my biggest, biggest supporters," he said.
"These were innocent men who lost a quarter century of their lives," said attorney Jon Loevy of the Exoneration Project. "From their late teens to their 40s. You can’t undo that."
For Bouto, the process is still not over. Although prosecutors did vacate his conviction, they also reinstated the charges.
"I’m mad," Bouto said. "I had to do 22 and a half years. Lost my youth. Time with my family. Family that passed away. I missed all that. But right now it’s a joyful day. I am just thinking about today, one day at a time."
But his attorneys say he already has served his whole sentence and likely won’t be retried because the evidence in his case came from former police detective Reynaldo Guevara who has been accused of misconduct in over 100 other cases.
"It is time to investigate these detectives for all the harm they have done to so many families," said attorney Russel Ainsworth. "So many young men of color who were convicted of crimes they did not commit."
False convictions that have taken their toll on these men and their families.
Asked how it felt to be free, Jakes was inviting in his response.
"Lets go to Dougies and get a beer and we will talk about it," he said.