Anthony Ray Hinton was released from death row on April 3, 2015. Yet two years later, Alabama lawmakers have not moved to compensate him for spending 30 years behind bars for a crime for which he was exonerated .
Hinton was wrongly convicted of two murders that took place in Jefferson County in 1985. Despite having no witnesses and no fingerprint evidence, the State convicted him by saying the murder weapon, a gun, was at his mother’s home.
After a dozen years of appeals, the Supreme court granted a new trial, and the judge dismissed the charges after forensic scientists tested the evidence and confirmed that the bullets at the crime scene did not match Hinton’s gun. Hinton was one of the longest serving death row prisoners in Alabama history. But the state of Alabama has not compensated Hinton two years after his release.
According to the Equal Justice Initiative, Alabama law “provides that compensation may be awarded to a wrongfully incarcerated person if the Committee on Compensation for Wrongful Incarceration finds that he meets the eligibility criteria.” However, this application process is more of a formality, as these funds need to be appropriate through state legislation. Though Hinton’s application was approved, and State Senator Paul Bussman sponsored a bill to compensate Mr. Hinton, it didn’t make it out of the committee.
Read Hinton’s AL.com op-ed about his experience here.
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