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New Ohio Bill Would Pay the Wrongly Convicted Faster

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By Kamika Dunlap on June 03, 2010 11:05 AM

Ray Towler, a wrongly convicted Cleveland man recently released from prison, has enjoyed some of the perks of his new found freedom but has not experienced any financial relief. He has he not yet received any of the $1.4 million owed to him.

But lawmakers have introduced legislation that would require the state to pay wrongly imprisoned people, including Ray Towler, 50 percent of their mandated compensation within 60 days of their release from prison, the Columbus Dispatch reports.

Currently, Ray Towler only has about $350 to his name and is sleeping on an air mattress at his brother's house.

If the legislation is passed, Towler could receive half of his $1.4 million compensation.

Under the current state law, the exonerated are paid about $47,000 for every year they are wrongly imprisoned.

In addition, the wrongly convicted have waited months and sometimes years to get their settlement from the state.

As previously discussed, Ray Towler served 29 years in prison for a rape charge but was released on the DNA evidence and testing system through the help of an investigative project by the Columbus Dispatch newspaper and the Ohio Innocence Project.

Recently, the Cleveland native got an opportunity to sit courtside to watch LeBron James play game five of the Cavs/Celtics series.

In Towler's case, he had no previous felony convictions. He has been serving a sentence of 12 years to life for rape, felonious assault and kidnapping of a 12-year-old girl and 13-year-old boy on May 24, 1981.

Towler lost both of his parents while he was locked up, but was reunited with his step-brother and sister upon his release.

He will receive approximately $1.4 million plus lost wages from the state for his wrongful conviction. The new bill is expected to pay the wrongly convicted faster so that they can move on with their lives.

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