According to CBS News, 30 states offer compensation to people who have been wrongfully convicted, but less than half are ever paid.
After more than three decades behind bars, a 61-year old man has finally been exonerated of a crime he did not c0mmit. He was also awarded $1 million as compensation for wrongful conviction.
In 1978, Lawrence McKinney was imprisoned after being accused of rape and burglary. It was after 31 years, in 2009, that he was released.
Another 9 years of legal battle for exoneration and monetary compensation has passed, he was formally cleared of all the charges. A DNA evidence proved that he is innocent of the accused crime. Last week, the state granted him $1 million compensation.
The payment is divided into an upfront compensation and monthly payments. An amount of $353,000 was given to cover the attorney fees, debts, and vehicle costs. A $3,350 monthly payment will be given for a minimum of 10 years. If he should die before the award was paid in full, his wife or estate will be able to receive the money due.
The compensation is the maximum the state could provide and actually the highest that was given so far. However, many say that it is still not enough considering the length of time McKinney served.
“The board of claims at the hearing said that they thought it was an inadequate award,” Nashiville Attorney David Raybin, who represented McKinney, said.
Despite that, McKinney considers the closure of this chapter in his life a blessing enough.