18 years ago, a San Francisco man went to prison after a conviction for his alleged involvement in a drive-by shooting. Two people died in the Hunter's Point shooting. The San Francisco man stood trial and was convicted. For the San Francisco man, it was a long journey to justice. On Wednesday, the 40-year-old dressed in all white and donned a big smile as he strode out into the California sun.

Cheers erupted as the man tasted freedom. Family and supporters approached to give the man hugs. When asked what he would do with his new found freedom, he answered simply, "Take it one day at a time." The 40-year-old gained his freedom after a judge found that police suppressed evidence in the trial 18 years ago and paid a witness to lie on the stand. The judge threw out the two California murder convictions against the man.

The judge found that the lead homicide inspector was involved in suppressing the evidence in 1989 and was aware of the secret payoff made to a witness in the case. Frank Jordan was San Francisco Police Chief in 1989. He was surprised that police watched as paid witnesses provided perjury in the case. He says of the 18 years the man spent wrongfully serving a prison sentence, "there's no way that time can be replaced."

The San Francisco man entered prison at the age of 22. Now at age 40, he has some catching up to do. He wants to spend some time with his family now that he is a free man.

Every defendant has the right to a fair trial. It is unfortunate that in some cases it takes 18 years to learn of the foul play that happened during a trial.

Source: KTVU, "Wrongfully Convicted SF Man Walks Free After 18 Years Behind Bars," 12 Jan 2011