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Nine years ago, if someone had told me I would be spending the next eight years of my life involved in injustice, I would have said "You are stark raving mad!". Well, I am here to eat those words.

Eight years ago a friend was telling me about twin sisters in Alabama who were arrested and tried for supposedly hiring an alcoholic, drug addict con-man to kill one of the sisters' wealthy husband who was a very well-liked and well-known eye doctor in Huntsville. The wife of the doctor, the rich bitch who slept with a black man, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole. Her sister, the saintly one, was acquitted. The convicted con-man, who never really admitted to killing the doctor, will be coming up for parole this month.

After spending six years studying this case including both trial transcripts, putting up an extensive website (http://hankford.com/bettywilson) and spending the remaining two years putting together a book about this case Killer For Hire - The Final Chapter of the Alabama Twins Murder Case, I have, as many others, believe that the real killer of the doctor is walking around free. Neither of the twin sisters had a motive to have the good doctor put away but the doctor's ex-wife and son did.

As time permits, I hope to present other similar cases of injustice along with information on books, movies, TV shows, video games, etc., related to mystery crime. In the meantime please visit http://mysterycrimescene.com/.

Wrongful Conviction Lawsuits

Sunday, April 18, 2010

There is a federal law that gives people who were wrongfully convicted of a federal crime the right to receive money. Under this law, you are entitled to $50,000 for each year you spent in prison. If you were sentenced to death, you are entitled to $100,000 for each year you spent on death row.

When it comes to state wrongful conviction compensation, each state has many different laws. The District of Columbia and 27 states have some kind of compensation statutes, but the following 23 states do not: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Washington and Wyoming. (If you are interested, this link will take you to a page where you can look up what the compensation might be for states that do have wrongful conviction compensation and those who do not. State Compensation

Just because a state does not have wrongful conviction compensation, does not mean that you can't get some money. You may want to ask for help from the lawmakers in your state through a private bill or private compensation bill. This is a special law that, if passed, will entitle you to some compensation. The lawmakers will decide how much you'll get paid. Or you can file a lawsuit against the state and the prosecutor for money damages. You'll have to prove that your civil rights were violated. These types of lawsuits aren't easy to win because the prosecutor and the state have sovereign, or governmental immunity from such lawsuit which means you normally can't sue them for actions they do while performing their jobs. To win the case, you'll have to prove that there was no just cause for your arrest, or that you were cruelly or maliciously prosecuted. In other words, the prosecutor had some "axe to grind" against you or took you to trial even though he knew you were innocent

In Texas the compensation law for a wrongfully conviction is $80,000 per year of wrongful incarceration, as well as $25,000 per year spent on parole or as a registered sex offender. The wrongfully convicted person is also entitled to compensation for child support payments, tuition for up to 120 hours at a career center or public institution of higher learning, and reentry and reintegration services.

Preston Hughes, III, has been sitting on Texas Death Row since 1989. He was convicted of stabbing to death a fifteen-year-old girl and a three-year-old little boy. I have been complying some data on his conviction. The knife that was introduced to the jury as the murder weapon had rabbit not human blood on it. There were fifteen items including seven items from Preston’s apartment that were illegally seized. All of these items were turned into the evidence department at 2:58 a.m. but a Voluntary Consent for Search and Seizure form was “witnessed” by two sergeants approximately two and a half hours later. Preston never signed the form. There are several conflicting reports from various police officers as to what evidence was actually seized. Some how a pair of eyeglasses belonging to the girl and two grams of marijuana were added to the “inventory” that was originally collected from Preston’s apartment. Of all the pieces of Preston’s clothing, none had enough spots on them to even type as blood or whatever.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. In the next thirty days or so I will be adding another innocent in prison webpage for Preston to my mysterycrimescene.com website. It will have all the details regarding the discrepancies in the investigation including crime scene photos, lab reports and police reports.

Now, to get to the point of this post. Preston has been on Texas Death Row for twenty-one years. Twenty-one years times $80,000 is one million six hundred and eighty thousand dollars. It would seem to me that there should be a smart lawyer somewhere in the State of Texas who would be interested in part of this nice chunk of change.
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