Victor Burnette spent eight years in a Virginia prison for a rape he didn't commit and nearly 30 years trying to clear his name, says the Associated Press. Now he may not accept $226,000 the state offered as compensation because, at 57, he is unhappy the payments will be spread over 25 years and will stop if he is ever convicted of a felony. “To me they are treating me like a criminal still, which I'm not,” said Burnette, a housepainter and handyman.
Most of the 27 states that compensate the wrongly convicted for their time in prison impose conditions like those in Virginia. Other states offer no compensation. Virginia Sen. Frederick Quayle, who sponsored the 2004 bill to create the state compensation law, said the state doesn't owe anything to those wrongly convicted of a crime. Texas offers the largest payment to the wrongfully convicted: $80,000 per year for each year of incarceration and $25,000 for each year on parole or registered as a sex offender. The federal government pays $50,000 per year.