Three Exonerated Men to be Awarded $8.7 Million

Maryland’s spending panel is set to award more than $8.7 million to three exonerated men who spent more than 100 combined years in prison, the Baltimore Sun reports. The Board of Public Works, which is chaired by Gov. Larry Hogan, will about $2.9 million each to Alfred Chestnut, Andrew Stewart Jr. and Ransom Watkins, who were cleared last year of the notorious 1983 murder of a Baltimore junior high school student over a Georgetown University basketball jacket. The decision comes after Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby said Chestnut, Stewart and Watkins are innocent of murdering DeWitt Duckett. The ninth grader at Harlem Park Junior High School was shot in his neck in the school.

Mosby said the detective and prosecutor in 1983 coached and coerced the testimony of four students who identified Chestnut, Stewart and Watkins as the killers, and the students later recanted that testimony. Baltimore prosecutors now say police discounted interviews from other students who identified another person as the killer. “I’m delighted that these three men have been granted the compensation they deserve, but it’s awful that they had to go through a legal process to obtain this small measure of justice,” Mosby said. “I’m asking the state legislature to pass the exoneree compensation bill so that this process becomes automatic and more humane.” Maryland lawmakers are considering legislation that would require the Board of Public Works to pay wrongfully convicted prisoners within 60 days after receiving an order from an administrative law judge. It would require awards equal to the five-year average of the state’s median household income for each year of imprisonment.

via The Crime Report

March 3, 2020 at 09:53AM