Wrongly convicted man seeks compensation

March 22, 2005 at 1:55 PM
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AUSTIN, Texas, March 22 (UPI) -- A Texas man who spent four years in prison for a rape he did not commit is having trouble getting state compensation.

Josiah Sutton, who was freed last year through new DNA tests, has been denied $100,000 in compensation because he can't get a required letter from the prosecutor admitting the conviction was a mistake, the Austin American-Statesman reported Tuesday.

"It's ridiculous," said state Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, who authored the compensation law. "This was not what was intended ... This was not the way it was supposed to work."

Ellis is trying to fix the law and clear the way for Sutton and three other wrongfully convicted Texans to get their money. Twenty-five Texans have been paid more than $2 million under the same law.

Sutton needs a letter from Harris County District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal in Houston. He told the Houston Chronicle last year, "If I knew he was innocent, I would (write the letter). But I don't know that now ... If you give me some good reason to believe (the victim) was mistaken, I will probably send the letter."

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