Some say Georgia needs way to pay wrongly convicted
by Associated Press Wire
April 22, 2013 12:42 PM | 546 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In this March 27, 2013 photo, Alan Northrop, right, his girlfriend Shawna Smith, center, and Northrop's son, Alan Northrop, left, walk away from the Legislative Building at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. The elder Northrop was exonerated by DNA evidence after serving 17 years in prison for rape, and was in Olympia to testify before lawmakers in support of a bill that would compensate people who have been wrongfully convicted. (AP Photo/Rachel La Corte)
In this March 27, 2013 photo, Alan Northrop, right, his girlfriend Shawna Smith, center, and Northrop's son, Alan Northrop, left, walk away from the Legislative Building at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. The elder Northrop was exonerated by DNA evidence after serving 17 years in prison for rape, and was in Olympia to testify before lawmakers in support of a bill that would compensate people who have been wrongfully convicted. (AP Photo/Rachel La Corte)
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ATLANTA (AP) — Some advocates for people who are wrongly convicted in Georgia courts say the state should come up with a system that would guide how they are compensated.

Georgia is among almost two dozen states without a formula to decide how much wrongly convicted inmates can be compensated, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

"Those that are wrongly convicted and later exonerated in Georgia should have a uniform system in which to seek recourse," Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp said.

The state Legislature agreed last month to give $400,000 to Lathan Word, who was exonerated after spending nearly 12 years in prison on a robbery charge. Legislators came to that amount because it was what he could have earned in the U.S. Marine Corps had he reported to basic training as planned before his arrest.

At least three wrongly convicted men in Georgia have received $1 million or more in recent years as restitution.

If this were Texas, for example, Word would be entitled to receive more than $800,000 under the Lone Star State's compensation law.

State Rep. Carolyn Hugley, D-Columbus, tried for two years to get compensation for Word. She initially sought $2 million. "I thought that was reasonable, considering all he went through," Hugley said.

But Hugley said she was told to come up with an amount that lawmakers would find more reasonable. Now, she would like to see Georgia adopt a formula for compensating exonerees.

"It would be the right thing for us to do," she said. "The state needs to have a more predictable process, instead of one determined by politics."

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Information from: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.



Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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