Tennessee Man Compensated $75 For 31 Years Of False Imprisonment
Published in Dec 2020 / Updated in Mar 2021
Lawrence McKinney spent three long decades behind bars for crimes he did not commit. Then he had to get through lots of red tape to get released.
And as if that was not bad enough, when he sought compensation for the injustice he suffered, he was given only $75.
At the moment, McKinney is trying to get better compensation.
Before he was locked up, McKinney was accused of raping a woman and stealing a television set. He was convicted and sent to jail and was released 31 years later at the age of 60 years.
He was cut loose after DNA evidence finally proved beyond doubt that he was not even at the scene of the crime he was found guilty of committing.
According to his lawyer, Jack Lowery, McKinney deserves more than just compensation for the injustice he suffered. McKinney laments:
“I don’t have no life, all my life was taken away.”
The maximum compensation he can get is $1 million. However, there’s a catch: he can only get compensated if the state parole board allows him to present his case for exoneration.
As we speak, the board has denied McKinney’s request twice. Patsy Bruce, one of the parole board members, admitted she voted against the hearing because she was still not convinced the man was innocent.
His last option is Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, who has already received McKinney’s executive clemency application.
Also, this is the second time he is trying this. The governor already turned him down before.
“Being exonerated would put me on a standard with everyone else in society. I didn’t get a chance to build a career or buy a home. I lost all my 20s, 30s, and 40s, but I’m a servant of the Lord, and any blessing I get I just want for my wife.”
At the moment, the governor is looking at McKinney’s application. That includes looking at the parole board’s confidential recommendation.
The governor can agree with the board’s recommendation, abstain, or even disagree with what the board recommends.
Still, getting the compensation he seeks might not be easy. In over a decade, the Tennessee Board of Claims has paid exoneration claims only twice.
In other words, getting compensated more than the $75 he has already received is a very long shot for McKinney.