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As its last act of the legislative session, the Florida Senate approved a bill allowing compensation for James Richardson (above), who had been wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death. He spent 21 years in prison (5 on death row) for a crime he did not commit. He was convicted of murdering his 7 children by poison in 1967. His trial was later found to include perjury and prosecutorial misconduct.
Many decades later, a former babysitter confessed to the murders. By the time she confessed, she was in a nursing home suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. The governor decided to reopen the case and a special prosecutor found that Richardson’s case was largely built upon coerced jailhouse snitch witnesses, who were beaten into falsely testifying against Richardson.
In 1989, Richardson’s conviction was overturned and he was released. But he did not receive any compensation. Now an old man, he will finally be…
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