Can you imagine spending three decades in prison for a crime you didn’t commit? To most people, that sounds like an unfathomable nightmare. However, for 61-year-old Lawrence McKinney, that exact situation was his reality.
McKinney was wrongfully convicted of rape and burglary in 1978. He was then sentenced to a total of 100 years in prison.
All throughout serving his sentence, McKinney maintained his innocence, but it wasn’t until 2009 that new DNA evidence proved that McKinney did not, in fact, commit the crime.
After serving 31 years of his sentence, McKinney was released from prison.
Now, nearly a decade after his release, the Tennessee Board of Claims voted to pay McKinney approximately $1 million dollars for the time he served during his wrongful conviction.
According to a report from the Tennessean, McKinney will be given $353,000 up front to cover his legal expenses and debts and to purchase a car. The rest of the money will be paid out monthly in the amount of $3,350 for the rest of his life.
While $1 million may seem like a lot of money to most people, Tre Hargett, Secretary of State and member of the Board of Claims, understands that the amount is not “satisfactory”. The fact is that no amount of money can make up for spending 31 years behind bars as an innocent man.
Since his release, McKinney’s record was expunged, however, the governor of Tennessee has refused to exonerate McKinney.
However, Governor Bill Haslam, did release a statement on the case saying: “Though the facts of this case are complex and reasonable minds may draw different conclusions from them, ultimately I respect the determinations of the Shelby County Criminal Court and District Attorney General that Mr. McKinney was not guilty of the crimes for which he was convicted and would not have been prosecuted if the DNA testing results had been available at the time of trial.”
Although it can be hard to understand how someone could possibly be wrongfully convicted, the sad reality is that it happens more often than most people realize.
One of the first -- and most important -- steps to dealing with any legal matter is to make sure that you have the proper representation.
Having a lawyer who has both the passion and the skill set to handle your case is a must.
Attorney, Brian Lee Nash has nearly a decade of experience working with a wide range of clients. He brings a vast amount of knowledge, drive, and determination to every case he works with.
If you believe that you or someone you know has been wrongfully convicted of a crime, contact Nash Law, PLLC today at 615-628-7555.
This article was written by the author on behalf of Nash Law, PLLC.