Michael Anthony Green: Wrongly Imprisoned For 27 Years, But Don't Hold Your Breath Waiting For Restitution

The case of Michael Anthony Green has been in the news lately, because Green served 27 years in prison for a rape he didn't commit.

The district attorney's office sent out a press release yesterday taking credit for Green's freedom, saying his release is the result of "an extensive investigation...initiated by the Harris County District Attorney's Office." 

The Houston Chronicle even reported that Green could receive $80,000 for every year he's spent in prison, which comes out to more than $2 million.

That's hardly enough to cover 27 years in prison for rape, but at least it's something.

When Houston attorney Randy Sorrels hears this, however, he has to get frustrated.

"I think it will be a long time before Mr. Green sees his money," Sorrels tells Hair Balls.

Sorrels is representing Richard Sturgeon, another Houston man who was wrongly convicted. At least a federal judge said he was when she ordered Sturgeon's release in the summer of 2009. Sturgeon had served 11 years.

After he was released, Sorrels' law firm filed Sturgeon's claim -- $80,000 for every year he served -- with the state. The Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts denied the request, according to a press release sent out by Sorrels' firm, because Sturgeon didn't receive a full pardon on the basis of innocence.

From the release:

[The] Harris County District Attorney's office decided rather than to retry Mr. Sturgeon and have him obtain a finding of actual innocence -- therefore allowing for the payment for the 11 years of being wrongfully imprisoned -- they would rather just not pursue the matter, and therefore putting up a large hurdle for Sturgeon to jump over.

A representative from the District Attorney's office could not be reached for comment.

Sorrels says this is a case of the state using a "loop hole" so it doesn't have to pay for wrongful convictions, adding that his next step is a lawsuit.

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