Wednesday, August 2, 2006
From dallas news.com: According to a survey by the nonprofit Life After Exoneration Program, daily struggles are typical for the hundreds of people nationwide who have been exonerated through DNA testing and released from prison. Almost all exhaust their finances in prison fighting to prove their innocence, and many suffer deep family fractures while locked away.
"They've got the normal problems of readjusting on the outside, and nobody wants to listen to their story," said Jeff Blackburn, who directs the Lubbock-based West Texas Innocence Project. "For people to admit that an innocent person got locked up forces them to ask questions about how just the system is."
Mr. Blackburn plans to use the story of Greg Wallis, the third convict from Dallas County whom public defender Michelle Moore has helped to secure DNA tests that exonerated, to help lobby for changes in the way exonerees are compensated for the time they are locked away. Currently, compensation is taxed heavily. The exonerated also give up their right to sue over their convictions and false imprisonment by accepting restitution.
"I think he's one of the few who's got the strength of character to get him through," Mr. Blackburn said. "At the same time, with him, this is a real classic example – this is a guy who's not working, can't afford a car, who's in terrible shape all because of what the government did to him."
Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]