KANSAS CITY, Mo. – When a person is pardoned in Missouri without DNA evidence, they will not be compensated for their jail time. A bill to be introduced before the legislature next year will change that.
Every day, Kevin Strickland’s Gofundme towards $2 million, but without the lawsuit, none of that money would come directly from the state. Missouri Democrat LaKeySha Bosley of St. Louis said she is working to help those wrongly convicted with the new law.
The feeling of freedom is a release after decades of imprisonment. Once they settle into new lives without DNA evidence, many will become homeless, penniless and missing.
“You have no resources. Not available. You come home with nothing,” says Darryl Burton.
He will know. Burton has been incarcerated for nearly 25 years for a murder he failed to commit. With the help of family and friends, he was able to restart his life but it was not an easy path. He now has a master’s degree in divinity and is an associate pastor at United Resurrection Church in Leawood. It’s the largest Methodist church in the world says a lot about the way Burton has come.
Over the past three years, Bosley has introduced legislation aimed at assisting all those wrongly convicted. It’s not just those who are released with DNA evidence. She will amend the law again this month and hopes this time will be when it finally becomes law.
“We know that there are many ways someone can be exonerated with false confessions, witness tampering, perjury, official misconduct, inadequate legal protections,” Bosley said. , there are many way.
She said that about 50 people in Missouri have been exonerated and a handful of them are from DNA evidence. However, they are all equally innocent. Bosley says several people were convicted before DNA evidence existed in its modern use.
Representative Patty Lewis said she would support Bosley with the application and hope to push it forward. She believes Strickland’s example could help spark new interest in Jefferson City to see the law passed.
“I look forward to working with her, as well as your representatives on both sides of the aisle, to get this through this year,” Lewis said.
She believes they will have bipartisan support. Both women said they spoke to representatives across the island who are interested in seeing a change in the criminal justice system.
“It was delivered to the Commission all three years. And one time I took it to a hearing and the hearing was completed, and we didn’t get any backlash,” Bosley said.
Burton said those convicted of crimes can get help to reintegrate into society, and those wrongly convicted will get the same support and more.
“You were innocent, and you went to prison all these years but now you’re out there because of you. We have nothing for you. It was horrible,” said Burton.
FOX4 spoke with Republican Representative Tony Luetkemeyer by phone about the upcoming filing, but he did not wish to comment because he could not read the bill. We have also reached out to the office of Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, who did not return our calls or emails.
While Missouri waits for possible change, Burton said there is a way to help those wrongly convicted today. MOIs help people in need with legal referrals, housing, employment opportunities, education and training, life skills and mentoring, physical and mental health, and transportation.
Nonprofits work through the kindness of others. If you want to help you can donate online through their website.
https://fox4kc.com/news/upcoming-missouri-bill-hopes-to-compensate-wrongfully-convicted-with-or-without-dna-evidence/ Missouri bill hopes to compensate those wrongly convicted even without DNA evidence