We reported Tuesday that Virginia lawmakers were returning to the capitol for a special session and would consider proposals to compensate Arthur Lee Whitfield, who served 22 years in state prisons before DNA testing proved his innocence. He was freed in 2004, but has not been compensated due to a legal technicality – he was refused a writ of actual innocence because the state’s highest court didn’t have the power to grant it to non-prisoners.
Lawmakers on Wednesday unanimously approved payment of $632,867 to Whitfield
, based on the formula in the state’s compensation law. He will receive $126,573 within a month and the remainder as an annuity.
Whitfield , 54, was recently diagnosed with liver cancer and missed the special session because he was receiving chemotherapy. He works in a produce factory and has been struggling financially.
Only about half of the 241 people exonerated by DNA testing to date have been compensated.