Texas owes wrongly convicted man $66,000 despite technicalities, court says | Dallas-Fort Worth Communities – News for Dallas, Texas – The Dallas Morning News

Posted: March 13, 2011 by scaryhouse in Uncategorized

By ERIN MULVANEY

AUSTIN — The Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday that the state must pay more money to a wrongfully convicted man who was denied part of his compensation because of a technicality.

Billy James Smith of Fort Worth spent 19 years in prison on an aggravated sexual assault conviction in Dallas County. A 2006 DNA test proved he did not commit the crime.

Smith received about $1.5 million from the state, but Comptroller Susan Combs, who handles compensation requests, denied him $66,000 because the first 10 months of his sentence overlapped with a parole violation from a robbery conviction from 1970.

Smith argued to the Supreme Court that the parole violation was only a result of the wrongful arrest and conviction, so he should be paid the full amount.

Combs contended that the state’s wrongful conviction law clearly states that a person “is not entitled to compensation … for any part of a sentence in prison during which the person was also serving a concurrent sentence.”

But Smith’s lawyers said the intent of the law was to remedy wrongful convictions, and the court ultimately agreed.

via Texas owes wrongly convicted man $66,000 despite technicalities, court says | Dallas-Fort Worth Communities – News for Dallas, Texas – The Dallas Morning News.

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