James Tillman served 18 years in Connecticut prisons before DNA testing proved his innocence. Last week, the state legislature approved a bill awarding him $5 million in compensation for the injustice he suffered. The bill now goes to Governor Jodi Rell, who has said she will sign it.
An editorial in today’s Hartford Courant calls on lawmakers to create a formula to compensate future exonerees in a similar way.
They should set a policy for fair compensation based on the Tillman precedent. His award was calculated roughly on what other states have done in similar situations. He was compensated for loss of liberty and enjoyment of life, loss of income, loss of future earnings because he will be starting from scratch, for physical and psychological injury and loss of familial relationships. In exchange, he agreed not to press claims against the state.
Let's put that formula in writing. There's only one James Calvin Tillman. But all who are wronged in this egregious manner deserve fair and equal treatment.
Read the full editorial
. (Hartford Courant, 5/21/07)
examined compensation policies nationwide on Friday