Tuesday, March 17, 2015

North Carolina: Wrongly Convicted and Imprisoned? So What!

Wrongful Conviction Compensation
 in California
In 1983, Henry McCollum was 19 years old and Leon Brown was 15. That is when they were both arrested for the rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl. Although a judge concluded “no physical evidence, either at the time of their arrest or at any time since, linked Mr. McCollum or Mr. Brown to the scene or the commission of this crime” and the case was based “almost entirely” on confessions that were recanted, both men were convicted. Henry was sentence to death, Leon to life in prison.

Decades later, DNA pointed to one Roscoe Artis, who is serving a life sentence for a 1983 rape in the same community. So, Mr. McCollum and Mr. Brown were given $45 apiece and released from prison.  The State of North Carolina offers as much as 750,000 for persons wrongly convicted and imprisoned. But, the Times reports:
Because of the approach lawyers used to secure swifter releases for the two men, neither is entitled to wrongful conviction compensation until he gets a pardon. 
Which is to say, compensation is available for those declared innocent by the governor, but not a judge! A spokesperson says the case is a "top priority" for Governor McCrory. Again, they were released last September! The Times reports:
... Lawyers here say the pardon process in North Carolina has been an enigmatic one for far longer than Mr. McCrory’s term ...What remains unclear is how, exactly, Mr. McCrory’s process unfolds, and how much he considers any opposition to pardon applications. In the cases of Mr. McCollum and Mr. Brown, there is some, namely from the retired district attorney who prosecuted them. The prosecutor, Joe Freeman Britt, who came to be known as the nation’s “deadliest D.A.” because he won death sentences so often, said, “There is no doubt in my mind that they’re not entitled to a pardon, and there is no doubt in my mind that they’re not entitled to compensation by the taxpayers.”
The current district attorney says “the state does not have a case” and McCollum and Brown will not be prosecuted again. See full story here.

No comments:

blogger templates | Make Money Online