Georgia Set to Pay Back Wrongly Imprisoned Men

By: AP edited by Harrison Hove Email
By: AP edited by Harrison Hove Email

ATLANTA (AP) - A man wrongly imprisoned nearly 25 years for rape is set to get a $1.2 million payback from the state.

Monday, the Georgia House will consider paying Robert Clark that much in restitution for his time in prison for a 1981 attack before DNA evidence cleared his name two years ago.

The resolution, by Representative Larry O'Neal, a Republican from Warner Robins, says the Atlanta man's imprisonment happened through no fault or negligence on the part of Clark.

O'Neal says it is only fitting and proper that Clark be compensated for his loss.

The state Claims Advisory Board, the first panel to hear requests for restitution from the state, heard Clark's case last month and recommended that the Legislature pay him.

Secretary of State Karen Handel, the board's chairwoman, says she was moved by Clark's demeanor when he made his case.

The board left the amount of restitution up to the Legislature.

The $1.2 million is based on the income Clark lost while imprisoned, personal injury, injury to his reputation and other damages.

The 46-year-old had no prior felony convictions.

The Innocence Project, a New York based group that works to overturn wrongful convictions, says he was the 197th person nationally and the sixth in Georgia to be cleared by DNA evidence of a criminal conviction.

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