Saturday, August 05, 2017

Innocent Ex-Alabama Death Row Inmate Seeking Compensation for ‘30 Years of Hell’

Alabama is barbaric, evil. After the many cases of people who have been in prison for long periods of time, sometimes on death row, to reduce the time they can appeal is extremely evil. To do so in the same session where they supposedly didn't have enough time to pass compensation for an innocent man who was imprisoned for 30 years, I don't know how there are words to describe the depths of warped, barbaric evilness of Alabama legislators, and the people who elect them.

by Corky Siemaszko
Aug. 4, 2017

The state of Alabama took 30 years of Anthony Ray Hinton's life when they sent him to death row for two murders he did not commit.

Now they won’t give him a dime.

Hinton’s application for redress was unanimously approved by a state senate committee earlier this year and an Alabama lawmaker introduced a bill that would have set aside $1.5 million for what the 61-year-old Hinton calls "30 years of hell."

But the state legislature never got around to debating that bill before wrapping up its session in May, leaving Hinton bitter and practically broke two years after his convictions were tossed.


“We just ran out of time,” said State Sen. Paul Bussman, the Republican lawmaker who sponsored the bill to compensate Hinton.

But Alabama lawmakers did manage to pass the Fair Justice Act, which is designed to speed up executions by reducing the number of years death row inmates can appeal their sentences.

In an April opinion piece for the Alabama Media Group, Hinton said that if that law had been around while was behind bars “I would have been executed despite my innocence.”

At least Hinton has Bussman in his corner.

“Yes, I do,” the lawmaker told NBC News when asked if he plans to introduce another bill to compensate Hinton when the legislature gets back to work again in January.

Hinton landed in a 5-by-8 foot cell that would be his home for 10,419 days after he was convicted of the 1985 murders of two Birmingham-area fast-food managers, John Davidson and Thomas Wayne Vason. Both men had been gunned down in separate fast-food robberies.


It wasn’t until 1999 that the state’s case against Hinton began cracking.

Experts hired by the Equal Justice Initiative, which took up the Hinton case, had the so-called murder weapon and the bullets recovered from the victims tested by a team of forensic experts.

Their conclusion? No match.

But the state Attorney General’s Office refused repeated requests by Hinton’s lawyers to run their own tests on the revolver and bullets.

So Hinton languished in a cell for 16 more years before the U.S. Supreme Court finally ordered the Alabama AG’s office to do the tests. He was released in April 2015 after Jefferson Court Judge Laura Petro granted the state's motion to dismiss the charges on the grounds there was not enough evidence to conclusively link Hinton to the crimes.


Hinton, who makes ends meet by occasionally talking to college classes about what he endured, said he has no choice but to go through the grueling process again.

“When I got out I had no income to speak of,” he said. "The state of Alabama gave me no clothes, no food, no place to live. To take thirty years of my life and not give me one dime, that’s not right. That’s not justice. I would like to ask the world, where is my justice?”

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