Henry James, 50, was released from a Louisiana prison last year after serving 30 years for a rape DNA proved he didn’t commit. If he successfully navigates the state’s compensation process, he’ll receive $8,333 compensation for each year of wrongful incarceration. As reported here, State Representative Herbert Dixon (D) had sought to increase the state’s compensation from the current cap of $250,000 to $500,000, but the effort has failed for a second time.
Exonerees in the state are paid in installments of up to $25,000 per year but first must file petitions for a judge’s eligibility order, then present the order to the Continue reading
Billy Frederick Allen spent 26 years in prison for murder before his conviction was overturned, but not with gold-standard DNA proof of his innocence. Two Texas courts had agreed his conviction shouldn’t stand. A Texas Court of Appeals reversed it based on ineffective counsel. A lower court had ruled that the evidence against him was insufficient for a reasonable jury to convict him. But the state’s Comptroller had resisted paying compensation saying that Allen had not proven his innocence. On Friday, in a precedent-setting unanimous decision, the Continue reading
A provision to deny compensation to a wrongfully convicted person if he or she had a previous felony or violent misdemeanor record does not have the support of Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. In fact, his office will advocate against it. The measure was submitted by his staff but he did not see or approve the restriction. In a Columbus Dispatch article here, DeWine said, “This doesn’t make sense to me.”
Governor Kasich’s spokesman said that the governor’s office would not oppose removal of the proposal from the massive budget bill.
Thanks to Attorney General Mike DeWine and Ohio Governor John Kasich for their positions on the removal of this provision, and to Ohio Innocence Director Mark Godsey for speaking out forcefully against it, noting the difficulty exonerees often have in getting compensation for years spent in prison for crimes they did not commit, “It’s too difficult as it is, ” Godsey said. “There’s only a few that have been able to do it.”