Lamonte McIntyre is still wearing his prison-issued, black-frame glasses.
He can’t afford the steep price he was quoted for a new pair and a new prescription. That’s the sad reality for a man who wasn’t employed for 23 years because he was incarcerated for a double murder he didn’t commit.
Richard Jones has been approached for handouts by people who assume he’s sitting on a wad of cash, given that he served 17 years for a robbery that he didn’t commit. You might recognize him as the doppelganger who was misidentified in a highly questionable police photo lineup, confused with a man who had a similar hairstyle and skin tone.
Floyd Bledsoe tried to get a car loan but was told he’d have to pay a 24 percent interest rate because he had no credit history. He also applied for a job recently and was told that his background check showed he was still in prison. He’s been out for almost two years, exonerated by DNA evidence for a murder his brother committed.
The state of Kansas granted these men their freedom because it was proven that each was wrongfully convicted. It’s past time for the state to do right by them. They shouldn’t have to sue for modest compensation for the years they can’t get back.
… The Kansas Legislature must right this wrong. …
Kansas is one of 18 states that offer nothing to former inmates after they are exonerated. The state should follow the lead of Texas, which provides $80,000 per year spent incarcerated, plus the necessary help exonerees might need to become self-sufficient. …
… It’s morally and ethically repugnant that the state refuses to even try. Legislators have faced this question before and have failed to pass legislation to allow for compensation. …
The three men share a resilience, an acceptance of what happened to them. They show none of the bitterness that could harm their chances for success going forward.
Waffling politicians could learn from them. But first, lawmakers must financially compensate the wrongfully convicted and establish a system to ensure that this miscarriage of justice for exonerees is never repeated.
— The Kansas City Star