Saturday, August 29, 2009

Wrongfully convicted man to get $632,000

updated 9:12 p.m. ET, Wed., Aug 19, 2009

RICHMOND, Va. - A Virginia man who spent 22 years in prison for two rapes he did not commit will get more than $632,000 in restitution, following a unanimous decision Wednesday by state lawmakers.

Arthur Whitfield, 54, of Norfolk was convicted in 1982 and sentenced to 63 years in prison. A 2004 DNA test proved his innocence and he was freed.

Whitfield needed paperwork stating his innocence in order to receive state restitution, but the Virginia Supreme Court could not issue such a finding — called a "writ of actual innocence" — because the law at that time allowed that only for those who were incarcerated.

Whitfield's only hope was a pardon from Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, but because one of the rape victims opposed the pardon it took until April for Kaine to grant it.
Eye witness reports have been shown to be very unreliable.

"When we have a victim who continues to assert that the individual is guilty, we obviously had to take some time and make sure we had that right," Kaine said Wednesday.

Whitfield recently was diagnosed with liver cancer and did not attend Wednesday's special legislative session because he was getting chemotherapy, said his lawyer, Michael Fasanaro Jr.

Whitfield has been working in a produce factory but struggles financially, Fasanaro said.

No comments:

Post a Comment