News 01.22.08

Louisiana editorial calls for DNA testing access and exoneree compensation

Innocence Project client Rickey Johnson, who was exonerated last week after serving 25 years in prison for a rape he didn't commit, is eligible for $150,000 in state compensation. But the process for receiving the compensation is cumbersome, and only two of the 10 Louisiana exonerees have been compensated.

An editorial in Sunday's Shreveport Times calls for Louisiana lawmakers to increase exoneree compensation to the federal standard of $50,000 per year served and to streamline the process so needy exonerees aren't denied state funds. The editorial also praises District Attorney Don Burkett, who supported Johnson's appeal for testing and is helping him apply for compensation.

But not all innocent inmates live in Burkett's jurisdiction. Other Innocence Project clients in Louisiana have sought DNA testing for years (13 years for Archie Williams in East Baton Rouge), only to meet with resistance at every turn. The editorial calls for access to DNA testing for inmates when it can prove their innocence.


Read the full editorial here.

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