A man wrongly accused of four felony charges planned to use his personal experience to help others.
Jonathan Radley was studying criminal justice at MTSU in 2013, with plans to become a police officer. While walking into his job as a student patrol officer, an officer with the Murfreesboro Police Department mistakenly arrested him in connection with a car burglary ring.
"I didn’t know what was going on," Radley said. "I thought it was a joke until I went to jail and got booked."
Radley was forced to hired attorneys and a private investigator to help him clear his name.
"I was getting credit card debt, credit card debt, credit card debt," Radley said. "Just trying to pay off my attorney fees and private investigator fees. I was just trying to make it; just trying to prove my innocence."
It took two years for Radley to gather enough evidence to clear his name. A judge acknowledged Radley looked strikingly similar to a thief the department was actively pursuing, but arresting Radley was a mistake. The judge also said the arresting officer acted in good faith and was fulfilling her job to the best of her ability.
But Radley was emotionally damaged by the ordeal.
"I still have constant nightmares of going for prison for something I didn’t do," he said. "if I ever got in a situation I wouldn’t feel comfortable calling police. It made me not want to be a police officer anymore."
Instead, Radley chose to take the LSAT just one month after the four felony charges against him were dropped.
"I just want to give back and help others in the same situation as me," he said.
He will attend Southern University Law Center this fall and plans to study criminal defense.