Attorney General Nessel approves over $2 million compensation to wrongfully convicted

 Three men who spent time in Michigan prisons for crimes they did not commit will receive payments from the state to compensate them for their years in prison. The compensation awards were approved by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel after her office carefully reviewed and evaluated the compensation claims filed under the state’s Wrongful Imprisonment Compensation Act (WICA).

“Conceding that no system is perfect, the government’s public recognition and overturning of the convictions of these men helps to foster a healing process, and assures Michiganders that the government – regardless of fault – will take ownership of its errors,” Nessel said. “Reentering society is profoundly difficult for wrongfully convicted individuals and we have an obligation to provide compassionate compensation to these men for the harm they suffered. I’m proud our office was able to play a part in ensuring justice was served.”

The largest compensation award – more than $1.5 million – will go to Richard Phillips, whose case was the first to result in an exoneration by Wayne County Prosecutor Kym L. Worthy’s Conviction Integrity Unit, headed by Valerie Newman. The case was brought to Prosecutor Worthy’s unit by the University of Michigan Innocence Clinic. Worthy dismissed homicide charges against Phillips in March 2018 following a thorough review, investigation and reconsideration. Prosecutor Worthy said at the time, “It has been determined that the case against Mr. Phillips, which led to his conviction for murder in 1972 and a subsequent life prison sentence, was based almost entirely on the false testimony of the main witness in the case.” Phillips captured public attention earlier this year when he started selling his paintings to support himself.

“This is great news, and was absolutely the right thing to do,” Prosecutor Worthy said. “I remain thankful that in 2018 we were able to bring some justice to Mr. Phillips. While this compensation will not bring back the 45 years that he unjustly served in prison, it is my sincere hope that it will bring a well-deserved and fulfilling quality of life to him.”

The state has agreed that Neal Redick will receive a WICA compensation award of more than $780,000. Redick was convicted of criminal sexual assaults against a minor in the early 1990s. Redick served approximately 15.5 years in prison before charges against him were dismissed by the Genesee County Circuit Court in November 2007 after the now-adult complainant recanted his claim that Redick sexually abused him. The Genesee County Circuit Court dismissed the case against Redick and ordered he be discharged from custody.

Raymond McCann will receive a WICA compensation award of approximately $40,000. McCann, a reserve police officer, was originally charged with five counts of perjury arising out of the investigation of a 2007 murder case. New evidence – surveillance footage – proved him innocent of the charges and the St. Joseph County Prosecutor dismissed the one remaining perjury charge in December 2017.

Under the WICA, a plaintiff is entitled to judgment if he can show: 1) new evidence demonstrates that the plaintiff did not perpetrate the crime and was not an accomplice or accessory; 2) the new evidence results in the reversal or vacation of the charges; and 3) the new evidence results in either the dismissal of all charges or a finding of not guilty on all charges on retrial.

The amount of WICA compensation is calculated based on $50,000 for each year from the date the plaintiff was imprisoned until release.
 

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