Nearly five years after a Connecticut man was exonerated of a rape and murder he did not commit, he will go back to court in an effort to be compensated from the state.
reported that Kenneth Ireland, who spent two decades in prison before DNA evidence proved his innocence, is expected to testify today before Waterbury attorney James P. Brennan, the special master assigned to his case, and elaborate on a 100-page “analysis of damages” submitted earlier this year to the claims commissioner that seeks up to $8 million. DNA testing not only cleared Ireland, it pointed to the real perpetrator who has since been convicted at trial and is now serving a 60-year prison sentence.
Ireland is poised to become the first Connecticut exoneree to be compensated under the state’s 2008 legislation which was passed after James Tillman’s exoneration. Tillman, who served 18 years for a rape he didn’t commit, was compensated under case specific legislation signed by the governor the year following his release.
After Ireland testifies, the special master will make a compensation recommendation to the claims commissioner which will then be forwarded to the legislature for approval. Because Connecticut is among the states that does not specify a set amount of compensation per year of wrongful conviction, there is no limit on the amount that may be awarded.
“We’re very pleased that it has been scheduled, and he looks forward to being able to tell his side of what he went through,” William M. Bloss, Ireland’s attorney, said Monday. “This took away half of his life and affected whatever remaining years he has in a permanent and irreparable way.”
Earlier this year Attorney General George Jepsen wrote to Claims Commissioner J. Paul Vance Jr. and said the state is not opposed to the compensation Ireland has requested, saying “there is no dispute that Mr. Ireland was wrongfully incarcerated and is now, therefore, entitled to compensation” under state law.
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