Kevin Strickland, released after 42 years in prison, receives no money from Missouri: ‘I have nothing

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Kevin Strickland – a judge on Tuesday confirmed that he has received a lengthy misdemeanor conviction in Missouri – will seek no compensation from the state for more than 42 years behind bars.

Judge James Welsh ordered Jackson County Prosecutors to release 62-year-old Strickland using the new state law, pleading not guilty in the triple murder in Kansas City in 1978, and “not be in custody for more days.”

In Missouri, wrongfully convicted people always spit out of the system, nothing from the government that arrested them. Instead, they rely on a nonprofit and other boycott to get their feet back, says a post-conviction lawyer.

This is because Missouri’s relief law only allows inmates to prove their innocence through specific DNA testing legislation. It is not for Strickland or most of the boycotts across America.

Like convicted inmates, a parole officer does not help Strickland find counseling, housing or work. And unlike expatriates in some other states, they are not eligible for social services, such as participating in the state’s health program, through a compensation package.

Strickland previously told The Star that he planned to stay with one of his brothers for a short time. In an interview with ABC News, he joked about having to use a cardboard box to “get up somewhere under the bridge”.

The reporter asked if he was serious.

“I mean, what do I have?” Asked Strickland, who is now using a wheelchair. “If they tell me to leave now, they’ll take this chair.

University of Missouri-Kansas City law professor Sean O’Brien, who helped free innocent inmates, said Missouri must adopt the Missouri Compensation Law in neighboring Kansas, which passed a $ 65,000 settlement in 2018. He was jailed every year as compensation.

For Strickland, the law made him worth more than $ 2.7 million.

Among other recent expropriations in the area, Kansas paid LaMonte McIntyre $ 1.55 million for two years of non-murder in Kansas City.

Local lawyers say they see Kansas outsiders better than those in Missouri. On Show Me State, O’Brien said, “If the exoneries are doing well, it’s because of the system, not because of it.”

In Missouri, the only way to get Strickland relief is if lawmakers pass a bill that would require the state to pay, legal experts say. Outlaws can also sue, but they must show that the police or prosecutors have acted in bad faith, which is an uphill battle.

Instead, Strickland relies on an online fundraiser that has recently raised about $ 50,000. It is about $ 900 per year behind bars and is donated daily by citizens.

In an earlier interview with The Star, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said there was “no doubt” that Missouri should expand its compensation law. He said there should be a better model than providing “nothing” for expatriates.

“Especially when you know the system has made a mistake,” Baker said in June.

The lost years

At a rally in August, state Representative Richard Brown said that Missouri was “one of the strictest relief laws in our nation.”

Missouri prisoners who prove their innocence as “just the result” of DNA testing are entitled to money, but if they win their freedom with DNA in another way, they won’t. For some who qualify, they are entitled to $ 100 per day in jail, which experts say is lower than what other states pay.

The federal standard for compensation is $ 50,000 for wrongful imprisonment each year. Most states with compensation laws, including Indiana and Alabama, provide it or more. In Texas, expatriates are entitled to $ 80,000 behind bars each year.

However, Missouri makes $ 36,500 a year in CS, so if a person is jailed for 10 years and proves their innocence by DNA legislation, the $ 365,000 they owe will be spread over 10 years. This is a problem, innocence advocates say, because the state does not pay interest and payments are terminated after the death of the eviction.

“Suppose you were acquitted after 20 years in prison. Why wait another 20 years before you get the complete solution that Missouri offers? John Eldon, founder of After Innocence, a nonprofit that has helped more than 800 expatriates across the US, asked, “If you live long enough, why should the state keep the money you promised?”

This means that if Strickland qualifies for compensation, if he does not have to, he will have to live for 104 years to receive all the compensation he is entitled to.

Fifty people have been acquitted in Missouri, convicted in rehab, and prisoners actually declared acquitted. At least 15 were released with the help of DNA. Some are not compensated.

Even if prisoners are compensated by DNA legislation, they are prevented from filing a lawsuit, which could expose the error through discovery. Advocates say the civil process helps identify the worst actors in the legal system.

At the rally, Brown, a Kansas City Democrat, vowed to introduce legislation that would ensure redress for those who were wrongfully convicted, whether released through DNA or other means. This would include job training and access to health services, he said.

“Is it too much to ask?” Said Brown. “Anyone who is innocent of crime and has spent years with their lives.”

One person in the group responded: “No, it’s not.”

Brown noted that the online fundraiser raised about $ 3,000 for Lamar Johnson, who served 26 years for the 1994 murder that St. Louis prosecutors say he did not.

“Congratulations, Mr. Johnson,” Brown said sarcastically. “When you are released, you have enough money to count on our citizens living in poverty.”

There is no one to help

Tricia Rojo Bushnell, executive director of the Midwest Innocence Project, has seen the boycott fight. Unlike convicted inmates, they said they would not get a case worker to help them find a job or obtain an identity card.

“How do you get back to the world when you have no one to help you?” She asked.

The Missouri Department of Corrections said expatriates do not seek help from parole officers because they are not under that type of supervision, which “comes with many, many restrictions.” But its spokeswoman, Karen Pozman, said the jail is aimed at helping people re-enter society, including vocational education programs and parenting courses.

Pozman sent The Star a timeline of preparations taken before the prisoner was released, including a 30-day release of pre-employment assignment. He said former inmates, regardless of how they were released, could also contact the Office of Reentry Services.

“Someone who has finished may not have enough early notice to make progress through this timeline, but there are resources available, including community resources,” he said.

Strickland’s decontamination marks the seventh longest inmate conviction in US history. Strickland, who was 18 when he was arrested, spent 42 years and more than four months in prison.

Anthony Mazza, the country’s longest serving expatriate, survived 47 years and two months in prison in Massachusetts before being released earlier this year.

Richard Phillips, the second longest serving American, was sentenced to 45 years and two months in Detroit for murder.

Michigan awarded Philips more than $ 1.56 million in compensation.

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© 2021 Kansas City Star. Visit kansascity.com. LBL, LLC.

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