Texas Increases Exoneree Compensation
Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed the Tim Cole Act into law yesterday, increasing the amount of compensation the state pays to the exonerated to $80,000 per year of wrongful incarceration. The new law includes credit for tuition at state colleges and universities and will also pay $25,000 per year an exoneree spent outside of prison on parole for a crime they didn't commit – a first in the nation.
The bill is named for Tim Cole, who was posthumously exonerated this year after DNA proved that he had been wrongfully convicted in 1986. He died of a heart attack in prison in 1999 and DNA testing finally proved his innocence in 2008.
Perry, who met privately with Cole's family in April, called the bill a "necessary and appropriate measure to amend the miscarriage of justice."
"You can never make these innocent men whole," said Rep. Rafael Anchia, a Dallas Democrat who sponsored the measure. "They have lost important years of their lives, they have lost spouses and children have grown up without their fathers. We can't make them whole, but we can do better."
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. (Associated Press, 05/27/09)
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