The CBS news show 48 Hours Mystery will air a segment this Saturday with an update on former death row inmate Anthony Graves' story.
Graves was exonerated in 2010 after spending 18 years in prison, most of them on death row. He was wrongfully convicted in 1994 of six counts of capital murder and spent the better part of two decades fighting to prove his innocence. The state paid him $1.45 million last year for the time he was imprisoned, but getting the money he was owed required Graves to take on another fight with the state.
Texas law allows exonerees like Graves to apply for compensation for the time they spent wrongfully incarcerated. It provides exonerees $80,000 per year of incarceration in a lump sum and then another $80,000 per year of incarceration in a monthly annuity.
But Texas Comptroller Susan Combs initially denied Graves' application for compensation because the court documents that freed him from prison did not declare his "actual innocence," as the law required. Last year, 48 Hours reported, along with many other news outlets, on the state's denial of compensation to Graves.
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In response to the controversy over Graves' case, state Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston filed a bill that changed the law to make him and other similar wrongfully convicted ex-inmates eligible for state compensation while still weeding out weaker innocence claims. The measure also makes exonerees eligible for the same health benefits given to Texas Department of Criminal Justice employees for a period of time equal to the time they spent in prison. And it restricts fees lawyers for exonerees can charge their clients.
"If it hadn't been for 48 Hours Mystery, I don't think I would be getting my compensation," Graves said in a CBS press release.
Check out a sneak preview of Saturday's show here.
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