The Slatest

North Carolina Brothers Get $25,000 for Each of the 30 Years They Were Wrongfully Imprisoned

Henry McCollum, left, and Leon Brown in North Carolina Department of Public Safety photos.


North Carolina brothers Henry McCollum, 51, and Leon Brown, 47, were released from prison last September by a judge and pardoned this June by governor Pat McCrory after being wrongfully convicted of rape and murder and serving 30 years in prison. (DNA evidence implicated another man in the crime after the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission began looking into the case in 2010.) On Thursday the state awarded the pair reparations for their decades-long false imprisonment, which McCollum spent on death row. (Brown also initially received a death sentence but was sentenced to life in prison in 1988 after the initial convictions were thrown out.) From the Guardian:

The governor pardoned the brothers in June, a step that made each eligible to receive $50,000 from the state for every year spent in prison, with a limit of $750,000. They can also receive educational benefits from the state.

Their attorney said the money will be put in a trust and invested so that the brothers can live off the earnings and won’t have to work.

Call me a bleeding heart, but isn’t it possible that there shouldn’t be a limit on the amount of restitution you can get if you’re wrongly put on death row for 30 motherloving years?

Brown was not able to attend Thursday’s hearing because he is “is in the hospital, suffering from health problems including post-traumatic stress disorder,” his lawyer said.