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Anthony Graves, an innocent man imprisoned for 18 years denied compensation

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posted on Feb, 16 2011 @ 09:55 PM

Link to Article (has links inside actual article for more information, not enough time to add links to pasted text here)

Written by Liz Goodwin

"A courtroom technicality has cost a wrongly convicted Texas man the compensation that would otherwise be due him for the 18 years he'd served in Texas prison--14 of which he spent on Death Row.

Anthony Graves would have received $1.4 million in compensation if only the words "actual innocence" had been included in the judge's order that secured Graves's release from prison. The Comptroller's office decided the omission means Graves gets zero dollars, writes Harvey Rice at the Houston Chronicle, even though the prosecutor, judge, and defense all agreed at trial he is innocent.

So how did this happen? Cory Session, a Texas Innocence Project policy director and one of the architects of the 2009 Tim Cole compensation law for exonerated prisoners, tells The Lookout that the Brenham prosecutor's office decided to dismiss the murder charges they originally filed against Graves, instead of retrying him all over again and finding him innocent. The compensation law provides $80,000 per year in prison only to claimants explicitly found innocent in a retrial or who are granted a pardon. Neither status now applies to Graves.

Session says he has no idea why the Brenham prosectors neglected to explicitly say in the court order that Graves was innocent. By simply dropping the charges, prosecutors could always retry Graves for the same crime if new evidence surfaced. Double Jeapordy rules would not apply, because the original charges against him have effectively disappeared.

Graves's lawyers are now pointing fingers at Burleson County District Attorney William Parham, who "declined to sign an order asking District Judge Reva Towslee Corbett to amend Graves' order of release to include the words 'actual innocence,'" according to the Brenham Banner Press. Parham said last month he also believes Graves is innocent, but that "actual innocence" carries no strict legal meaning; he also said he made no recommendations on the compensation case. Parham's office informed The Lookout he was not available for comment on the Graves case.

Session says Graves could now sue under federal civil rights law on the grounds that he suffered cruel and unusual punishment. Judge Corbett could also rescind the original order and add the words "actual innocence." If Graves sues the state of Texas in civil court, tort laws there limit any compensation to $200,000.

Meanwhile, Texas GOP Gov. Rick Perry won't be able to rectify the other judicial technicality that's blocked his qualification from the state compensation fund: Graves is not eligible for a pardon because he is no longer accused or convicted of any crime.

The Tim Cole Act is named after Session's brother, who was exonerated of a rape conviction after he died in prison. Session says he plans to lobby to amend the law and close the loophole Graves slipped through.

"It's obvious to us that under the spirit of the state legislation passed in 2009, Graves deserves compensation," The Houston Chronicle editorialized. "No one disputes the fact that the man is actually innocent. And the $1.4 million payment that he's due according to the state's formula hardly makes up for the loss of freedom for most of his adult life. The state has paid more than $30 million to 67 wrongfully imprisoned Texans. Graves should be the 68th."

"I need some help," Graves told The Chronicle in a video before the decision. "It doesn't feel good being a 45-year-old man and having to depend on your family just to make sure you eat. It's kind of embarrassing. But right now, this is my life."

For more background, Pamela Colloff at Texas Monthly has a fascinating chronicle of the crime, reconstructing how Graves was falsely accused."

I tried to find a petition in his favor online, but so far nothing has surfaced. If I find anything I will update. This man deserves every single cent of what is owed him!
edit on 16-2-2011 by donatellanator because: title cut

edit on 16-2-2011 by donatellanator because: gah

posted on Feb, 16 2011 @ 10:15 PM
another example of the government skrewing people over

posted on Feb, 16 2011 @ 10:25 PM
It would be good to see some investigation of the DA...something smacks of personal vendetta in this iformation.
That the trial judge, who erred in the first place has not rectified this already smacks of cronyism or worse.
This exhudes an odious small Now to my old nostril.
I bet the good ole boys in the backroom are involved here somewhere.
Id bet the research talent here en situ could dig up something more on this.......

posted on Feb, 16 2011 @ 10:28 PM
reply to post by stirling

Smells like it to me too. No reason to not change the wording and let this man be off on his way. Not only is he blocked from his due compensation, but also any recourse because he was declared innocent. He can't even be pardoned (which also gets funding).

His file:
edit on 16-2-2011 by donatellanator because: format

posted on Feb, 16 2011 @ 10:33 PM
From his website, some background on the charges.

posted on Feb, 16 2011 @ 10:36 PM
Think about it. If they were to amend his file to "actual innocence", they have to pay over a million bucks. However, if they allow him file a civil suit against the state, then they only have to pay out about 1/6th of that and then he still has to pay a lawyer fee.

So, the state actually wins out in paying off a civil suit by tanking the case and paying him. According to any state or federal court or accounting firm, this would be a win win in their eyes. Nevermind that it is a slap in the face of simple humanity and civility.

I recently watched "Harriet's Law" and she made a major speech condemning the modern judicial system, from the ambulance chasers to the goth robes and how they have all collectively corrupted a once noble profession.

67 innocent people paid compensation for false imprisonment seems a bit high. I would like to see the time span and then compare all of the states. I might just have to look these stats up and see how pathetic it really is out there.

I would sign a petition for him, if someone starts one and links it here, for nothing more than the humanity.

posted on Feb, 16 2011 @ 10:52 PM
Another disgusting and despicable act by our injustice system.
All of the men and women who died thinking they were fighting for our future freedoms in this country must be turning in their graves about now.

posted on Feb, 16 2011 @ 10:58 PM
As of 2006 of 2.3 million incarcerated currently at that time, 212 exonerations occured. 15 of those were on death row. This does not take into account those put to death before being proven innocent, which has happened already. I will look to see if can find more up to date statistics.
edit on 16-2-2011 by donatellanator because: (no reason given)


The most current is 266 exoneration with DNA evidence in the USA alone.

•Seventeen people had been sentenced to death before DNA proved their innocence and led to their release.

•The average sentence served by DNA exonerees has been 13 years.

•About 70 percent of those exonerated by DNA testing are members of minority groups.

•In almost 40 percent of DNA exoneration cases, the actual perpetrator has been identified by DNA testing.

•Exonerations have been won in 34 states and Washington, D.C.
edit on 16-2-2011 by donatellanator because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 16 2011 @ 11:21 PM
reply to post by wheresthetruth

I think you hit the nail on the head here, in your statement.

They would have to pay out money, and is the only reason they won't sign.

It obviously took them long enough to admit they were wrong in the first place, now in doing this, it's one last jab at the guy, the last middle finger.

Until they charge him again.

posted on Feb, 16 2011 @ 11:22 PM
Why are there so many people like this guy.Wrongfully imprisoned for most of his adult life.And yet so many career criminals go scot free And walk away.

posted on Feb, 16 2011 @ 11:29 PM
I can answer it rather easily. Corruption. There is no one policing the judges. Just try and find someone to help you when you get railroaded by any government agency. You can't. No one will help, no one can help, and the DA's and judges can and will do whatever they want. There is no real overseer.

I know someone that has been railroaded, and it also happened to me, but thankfully I managed to obtain proof before it went too far. The person I know? Not so lucky. Been sitting in jail almost a year now, without bond, after demanding a speedy trial.

How about a DA that's is investigating you, signs your arrest warrant, then goes on to become a Judge, who THEN hears your petition for a bond after being *assigned* your case? How about the same Judge going to your arraignment hearing and not stepping down until the attorney finally realizes he was the prosecuting DA? Left to his own, he would have continued on indefinitely.

A judge who should have recused himself because he was the DA prosecuting the case. And who will hear this complaint and act on it? No one, thats who. There is literally no one that will, or can, help you.

posted on Feb, 17 2011 @ 02:33 AM
i'm afraid that i would wind up back in prison.
take 18 years of my life, somebody gotta pay!

posted on Feb, 17 2011 @ 05:16 PM
It's a failure of our justice system. He's 45 years old now with no skills and no way to earn income. He has to rely on his family like a child until this is sorted out. And who knows if it will considering how much money it takes to defend oneself in our insane courts.... He shouldn't have to suffer for someone else's crime AND someone else's mistake. If we could just cut thrugh the red tape when it was necessary Mr. Graves could go on with his life.

posted on Feb, 17 2011 @ 05:57 PM
reply to post by donatellanator

well all i can say is like one of the posters said above, start a petition drive i'll sign it.
contact his lawyers if they are still handling the case to see if that would hold any weight in texas.

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