Josiah Sutton spent more than four years in prison for a crime DNA tests say he didn’t commit. The courts freed him. Gov. Rick Perry gave him a full pardon last summer. Nearly a year later, says the Austin American-Statesman, Sutton, 23, is waiting for his $100,000 check from a state fund established four years ago to compensate Texans who have been wrongfully imprisoned. The reason: He can’t get a required letter from Houston prosecutors admitting his mistaken conviction. “It’s ridiculous,” said state Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, who authored the law establishing the state fund. Twenty-five wrongfully convicted Texans have been paid more than $2 million from the state.
The prosecutor in the Sutton case, Houston’s Chuck Rosenthal, told the Houston Chronicle last year, “If I knew he was innocent, I would (write the letter). But I don’t know that now.” Ellis is trying to amend the law to remove the requirement that prosecutors endorse defendants’ compensation requests.