By Natalie Schwartz

On Robert Jones’ 44th birthday in 2017, the state of Louisiana dropped all charges against him — charges that had resulted in him spending more than half his life behind bars.

At 19, Jones was arrested and later convicted on robbery, rape and kidnapping charges related to a 1992 crime spree in the French Quarter in New Orleans after a witness mistakenly identified him during a suspect lineup. Over 23 years later, he was exonerated of all the crimes.

As Gov. John Bel Edwards signed a bill into law on May 23 that requires Louisiana police agencies to adopt more stringent eyewitness identification procedures to help prevent wrongful convictions, Jones stood by his side flashing a wide smile.

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