The price of freedom: $ 1.1 million for 17 years in prison or what the presence of a double led toBy Pictolic https://pictolic.com/article/the-price-of-freedom-11-million-for-17-years-in-prison-or-what-the-presence-of-a-double-led-to.html
In the USA, the justice machine rarely makes mistakes, because it is customary not to trust the stories of innocent convicts. But this time the Kansas state court made a mistake. A former prisoner has filed a lawsuit for compensation of one million dollars for the long 17 years spent behind bars. The man went to prison only because he looked like a real criminal.
A miscarriage of justice cost him 17 years in prison. Richard Anthony Jones believes it's now Kansas' turn to pay the bills. In order to restore life to its former status, he demands that all charges be dropped, the case materials be removed from the archive and destroyed. The former prisoner estimates the damage suffered at $ 1.1 million. Given the marital status of the victim, the state of Kansas will have to fork out for health insurance for all members of his family and higher education for two daughters.
42-year-old Richard Jones shortly after his release from prison in 2017
In 1999, an audacious robbery took place in one of the shopping centers in Rotland Park, Kansas. In broad daylight, the criminal tried to take away the woman's purse. She fought back and was able to keep her wallet with her, but not her cell phone. The victim fell and received minor knee injuries. Later, this aggravated the situation and was used by the prosecution. The case was qualified as an aggravated robbery.
The defendant's alibi and defense witnesses did not influence the jury's opinion. Moreover, the defendant's past was not cloudless. He already had a criminal record on the same charge. Given its presence, as well as aggravating circumstances, the court sentenced Richard Jones to 19 years in prison in Kansas. The convict used the right of appeal, but still ended up behind bars.
While in prison, Jones learned about the charity project Midwest Innocence. The project team managed to unravel the case and restore freedom to an innocent convicted person.
Midwest Innocence Investigation
The project staff found out that there was another "Ricky" who was also not an exemplary citizen. Rickie Lee Amos bore a striking resemblance to Jones. Moreover, he lived nearby, wore the same hairstyle and was born in the same year.
Left — Ricky Amos, right — Richard Jones
Based on these data, Midwest Innocence lawyers petitioned for a judicial review of the case. The witnesses of the crime were confused when they saw the photos of the two men. This time they could not say with certainty that Richard Jones was the robber. The judge had to annul the earlier charge and release the convicted person in June 2017.
The statute of limitations for the crime has long expired, so the district court could not bring Ricky Amos to justice. Besides, he was already serving a sentence for another crime.
The beginning of a new life
Richard Jones' lawsuit against the state of Kansas says not only about compensation of $ 1.1 million. During the 17 years spent in prison, he could have received an education, mastered a profession and made a career. His reputation and family also suffered. The wife raised the children alone, experiencing great financial difficulties.
Taking into account all these circumstances, the defenders indicated in the petition the requirements for payment of health insurance for the whole family, as well as higher education for Jones' daughters. The defense claims that for successful rehabilitation, he needs counseling from a psychologist, as well as a housekeeper. The cost of lawyers' services is not included in the compensation amount and the state must pay them separately.
Richard Jones and his wife.
Richard Jones cares about the future of his children and his reputation. Therefore, it is very important for him to remove from the police archive the history of arrests and the data of biological samples that were taken from him for examination.
According to the lawyers, Mr. Jones does not hold a grudge against Ricky Amos, even though he committed a crime for which he had to sit behind bars. He is upset that it is enough to be like a suspect to be charged with a crime. Richard Jones was slightly disappointed about the double, because he did not confess to what he had done, despite the statute of limitations.