Rickey Johnson holds his release papers as family members gather around shortly before noon on Monday, Jan. 14, the day he was released on a wrongful conviciton of rape.
Rickey Johnson, who was freed in January after serving 25 years in Louisiana’s Angola prison for a rape he didn’t commit, will receive $150,000 in compensation from the state for his wrongful incarceration. While Johnson says that no amount of money could ever replace the years he lost, he is looking forward to using the money to start a new business making leather goods such as belts and wallets.
“Rickey Johnson lost more than a quarter of a century, nearly his entire adult life, to a wrongful conviction. He had three young children when he was arrested, and a fourth was born shortly after he was incarcerated; all of those children are now adults,” said Vanessa Potkin, the Innocence Project staff attorney representing Johnson.
Read the full story here. (Leesville Daily Leader, 07/07/08)
Watch a new Innocence Project video of Johnson and fellow Louisiana exoneree Calvin Willis reuniting after Johnson’s release.
Johnson’s compensation comes under a state law that pays exonerees $15,000 for each year they served, to a maximum of $150,000. While Louisiana is one of 25 states with a compensation law, the amounts provided in the law are well behind the federal standard of $50,000 per year served, with no maximum. Several states, including Texas, Utah and Florida, have recently passed laws matching the federal amount, and the Innocence Project strongly supports efforts by lawmakers to bring state compensation laws in line with federal recommendations to include critical social services as well as financial payments.