In a resolution reached last week, a Lansing man – Claude McCollum – received $2 million after spending 3 years in jail for a rape and murder he didn’t commit. In addition to the 3 years spent behind bars, the family spent 2 ½ years litigating how he should be compensated.
In Michigan, no law provides compensation to the wrongfully convicted. However, a bill is currently pending in the House of Representatives – H.B. 4790 – that would provide $40,000 for each year a person is wrongfully incarcerated if the conviction is later vacated or the individual is determined not guilty.
The family states, “It’s a relief that we know he can go on with his life like we go on with our lives.” “It will give him peace of mind.”
Although the exact number is unknown, experts estimate that as many as 5,000 wrongfully convicted men and women are sitting in Michigan’s prisons. Unfortunately, over-zealous police and prosecutors often push to make arrests and convictions, tragically impacting the innocent. In McCollum’s case, a civil lawsuit was filed alleging a Lansing Community College police detective hid evidence of McCollum’s innocence. Charges were also brought against Ingham County prosecutors, although they were ultimately dismissed.
Despite the settlement, McCollum’s life has been irrevocably changed. Hopefully the compensation will allow McCollum to get his life on track and go back to where he was before the conviction – taking classes and finishing school.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a sex crime, time is of the essence. It’s crucial to contact a sex crimes defense attorney immediately to protect your rights. For more information, please contact the Grabel & Associates, a Michigan law firm devoted exclusively to sex crimes defense.