In 1964, Jim Walker was wrongfully convicted of first-degree murder in Arkansas. He spent the next year on Death Row before his sentence was reduced to life imprisonment at hard labor.

All told, Jim’s term in prison spanned three decades, most of those years in what was arguably the most brutal penal system in the nation.

In 1986, through a remarkable turn of events—including the advocacy of Judge Myron Bright of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, a team of pro-bono attorneys, and the work of investigative journalists, Jim gained his freedom from prison.

At that point, he’d spent more than half his life in prison.

Judge Bright called the case, “A gross miscarriage of justice, a stain on our criminal justice system.” Jim was innocent, as he had always maintained.

Jim has operated a shoeshine stand for the last 22-1/2 years in his hometown of Boise, Idaho, where he lived with his 94-year aunt in her home until she passed away this spring.

“Aunt Helen” was the only family he had left. And her home, which had a reverse mortgage, is being turned over to the bank.

At 76 years of age, Jim needs to find a new place to live. Jim shines 5-6 pair of shoes in a good week—the formal shoe business isn’t what it used to be. He relies on this income to augment a small monthly Supplemental Social Security Check.

His biggest fear is that he will end his life homeless.

A group of three friends is trying to help Jim find a new place to live and is raising funds to help him: Bill Beck, a longtime Boise commercial real estate agent; Newal Squyres, a partner in a large, regional law firm, and Russ Stoddard, a local businessman.

With an average age in the early 60s, this isn’t their first rodeo—but it is their first crowdfunding effort.

“Society gave Jim the maximum raw deal, and this is an opportunity for all of us to help him when he needs it the most,” says Newal.

“Jim is a wonderful human being and stands as an example for us all to live our lives without anger or regret,” adds Bill.

"In our wildest dreams, we’d raise the money to buy Jim a small house,” says Russ. “What we’ll likely do is help him secure housing that is safe, near public transportation, and that makes the best use of the funds that are being generously donated.”

Please help us secure a safe and secure place for Jim to live.


Double Your Giving

Beginning September 20th, every dollar given will be matched one-for-one up to a total of $25,000.

This will enable us to reach our goal of $75,000 to cover ten years of rent and utilities on a studio apartment for Jim, which we are in the process of securing.