Arthur Lee Whitfield served more than 22 years in Virginia prisons for a rape he didn’t commit before DNA testing proved his innocence and led to his release. He has not received state compensation, however, because the state Supreme Court denied him a writ of actual innocence, which is required to receive compensation under state law.
Lawmakers are returning tomorrow for a special session and will review proposals for bills that would pay Whitfield between $445,000 and $750,000. Delegate Kenny Alexander said he would propose a bill next year to compensate people who are exonerated but don’t receive a declaration of innocence.
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. (Virginian-Pilot, 08/18/09)
Virginia is one of 27 states with compensation laws, but it is among several states that exclude certain populations of people even after DNA testing proves them innocent. The Innocence Project works to pass fair, just compensation laws across the country.
Find your state’s law on our interactive map here