Compensation denied by high court to ex-inmate

 By Jack Elliott Jr.

Associated Press
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The state of Mississippi says Frank Sanders Tipton is due $41,097 for the 300 days he was wrongfully incarcerated in prison.
Tipton said he is due more than that. Tipton wants to be compensated for the two years he served under house arrest, which would amount to an additional $100,000.

Tipton was convicted in 2007 in Jackson County on extortion charges related to his offer to pay a woman’s fines and court costs if she modeled nude for him. He was sentenced to one year in prison and two years’ house arrest.

In 2010, the Mississippi Supreme Court threw out Tipton’s conviction. The court’s majority said prosecutors had to prove under the law that Tipton was an “employee of any contractor providing incarceration services,” which Tipton was not. 

Tipton applied for and was qualified for money from the state’s wrongly convicted compensation fund. He sued in Jackson County Circuit Court when the state refused to pay him both the 300 days he was behind bars and the two years he was under house arrest.

A Jackson County judge ruled for the state in 2013 and Tipton appealed to the Supreme Court.

The justices, in a 5-3 decision Thursday, denied Tipton’s appeal.

“The compensation statutes allow for compensation for each year of ‘imprisonment’ or ‘incarceration,’ which plainly means time spent in an actual prison,” said Justice Josiah D. Coleman.

Coleman said house arrest is considered an “alternative to incarceration” and is not covered by the compensation law.

But Justice Jim Kitchens said under house arrest, Tipton could not change his place of residence without correctional officer approval, his home was subject to inspection and search without warning or warrant, and he was required to submit to random drug and alcohol tests.