Tuesday, 11 December 2007

McCormick is seeking money for time served


A Chattanooga man just released after serving 20 years in prison -- 15 of
them on Tennessee's death row -- thinks he deserves money from the state
based on a wrongful murder conviction.

Defense lawyer Michael Richardson said he is pursuing avenues of
compensation for Michael Lee McCormick based on what he called faulty
evidence used against his client in 1987.

"He would like to get some compensation or reparations from the state of
Tennessee," Mr. Richardson said. "We are definitely going to look at

Mr. McCormick was convicted and sentenced to death in 1987 for the 1985
Valentine's Day slaying of 23-year-old Donna Jean Nichols, but a jury last
week found him not guilty after he was awarded a new trial based on
ineffective assistance of counsel.

"Mr. McCormick does feel like he was wrongly convicted based on tainted
evidence, among other things," Mr. Richardson said.

Specifically, he cited a hair found in the victim's car that an FBI
analyst initially said microscopically was consistent with Mr. McCormick's

According to testimony at Mr. McCormick's 2nd trial, the hair, which
prompted police to focus solely on Mr. McCormick as a suspect and was used
against him at his first trial, later was determined through DNA analysis
not to belong to Mr. McCormick.

In 2004, the Tennessee Board of Claims awarded almost $833,000 to a
Memphis man who spent more than 22 years in prison for rape before DNA
testing cleared him of the crime.

Clark McMillan was exonerated by the Board of Probation and Parole before
filing a request for compensation with the Claims Board, records show.

Anne Adams, director of the Division of Claims, said Mr. McCormick first
would need to file a petition for exoneration directly with Gov. Phil
Bredesen's office or with the Probation and Parole Board, which would
determine whether to grant or deny a hearing.

If exoneration is granted, Mr. McCormick then could file a claim for
compensation, she said.

"We're only aware of 1 person, Mr. McMillan, who has received
compensation, " Ms. Adams said. "I can't really say that this man would be

Melissa McDonald, spokeswoman for the Board of Probation and Parole, said
Mr. McCormick should file a request for executive clemency, which will
come before the board for review. The board will make a recommendation to
the governor, she said.

"The final decision is up to him after his review of the application and
the board's recommendation, " Ms. McDonald said.

According to state law, exoneration may be granted "to any person the
governor finds did not commit the crime for which the person was

Steve Elkins, legal counsel for Gov. Phil Bredesen's office, said
exoneration carries a higher burden to prove one's innocence rather than
simply being found not guilty by a jury.

"Once you have been granted an exoneration, that qualifies you to apply
for compensation for the time you have been in prison," he said.

Compensation cannot exceed $1 million, he said.

(source: Chattanooga Times Free Press)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

He is going to try and get money because he was cleared based on evidence that he was a habitual liar when he confessed? Profit from being a liar or a murderer, hmmm?
A friend of Jeannie's