State Rep. Rafael Anchia filed House Bill 1736 in February; Governor Rick Perry signed the Dallas Democrat's legislation, which ups compensation for the wrongfully imprisoned, in late May; it took effect Tuesday. Which means all those exonerated by DNA evidence in recent years will receive $80,000 per year they spent in prison for crimes they did not commit, as well as lifetime annuity payments for most worth between $40,000 and $50,000 a year. They'll also receive job training, public college tuition and some medical services.
This morning, the Associated Press checks in with several of those exonerated -- including Thomas McGowan, who spent 23 years behind bars after being convicted in Dallas County of a rape and burglary he didn't commit -- to see how they'll spend their money. Says McGowen, ''You're locked up so long and then you get out with nothing. With this, you might be able to live a normal life, knowing you don't have to worry about being out on the streets.''
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.