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State Legislative Affairs Update
By Scott Ehlers
Compensation for Wrongfully Convicted
Texas: Bill to Expand Compensation Expected in 2007
Would you be willing to spend a year in prison for $25,000 if you did not commit a crime? This is the maximum amount a wrongfully convicted person can receive for a year in prison under Texas law, with a cap of $500,000.
Some legislators — and exonerees — do not think this is fair and plan on supporting legislation in 2007 to match the higher amounts allowed under federal law. Sen. Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) plans on introducing a bill to eliminate the cap and increase the payments — to $50,000 per year in non-capital cases, and $100,000 in capital crimes.
Ellis will get some help from Anthony Robinson, who spent 10 years in prison for a rape he did not commit. Robinson’s testimony helped persuade the Texas legislature to compensate the wrongfully convicted. He has received nearly $250,000 in compensation, while earning a law degree from Texas Southern University.
Even conservatives agree the curren
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