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Former death row inmate seeks damages

May 19, 2011 at 9:32 PM   |   Comments

AUSTIN, Texas, May 19 (UPI) -- A former Texas death row inmate whose release inspired a special fund to compensate the wrongly convicted has initiated a campaign for compensation.

Clarence Lee Brandley learned last week he will receive no money for the nine years he spent on death row, the Houston Chronicle reported. The state controller's office told him his claim was turned down because he had filed it late and had no court ruling or pardon declaring him innocent.

An appeals court ruled in 1990 that Brandley's trial for killing a teenage girl at the high school where he was a custodian did not have "the rudiments of fairness." The Montgomery County district attorney decided against a new trial while declaring he still believed Brandley to be guilty.

Brandley and his family hope the legislature will pass a special bill for him. Legislators did so this week on behalf of another inmate who was denied compensation.

"Don't tell an innocent man about a statute of limitations," Brandley's brother, Ozell, said at a Wednesday news conference. "Morally there is no statute of limitations on doing what is right. They have never done what is right for him."

When he was released, Brandley tried to get compensation but was turned down on the grounds the state was immune from damages. That led the legislature to set up the compensation fund.

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