Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Review set for compensation after wrongful conviction
A Mississippi man could get more than $100,000 in state compensation because he spent time in prison for a wrongful conviction.
The state Supreme Court has upheld a Court of Appeals ruling that ordered a Coahoma County circuit judge to re-examine the case of Jamar Moore, a former pizza delivery man from Clarksdale.
Moore is seeking compensation after he was imprisoned for possessing painkilling hydrocodone pills without a prescription — a felony. He was sentenced to 16 years and spent more than 2 ½ years in jail.
However, court records state that after his conviction, Moore located a crime lab report stating the pills were a different chemical mix that made possession a misdemeanor, not a felony.
A circuit judge vacated Moore’s felony conviction and Moore was released from prison. However, a judge in 2015 denied his request for compensation. In April 2016, the state Court of Appeals told the judge to reconsider the case. Supreme Court justices upheld that ruling Thursday.
“The circuit court reasoned that Moore was not innocent — he was just convicted of the wrong crime,” the Court of Appeals wrote. “We conclude, however, that the statutory provision refers to innocence of all felonies for which the claimant has been indicted, convicted and incarcerated. There is no dispute that Moore’s conduct did not constitute a felony.”
A 2009 state law says if a judge finds a person was wrongfully convicted, the judge must award $50,000 for each year the person was imprisoned after indictment, with a cap of $500,000.
Court records show Moore was arrested in 2008 after one of his co-workers at a pizza business told police that Moore had two ounces of marijuana; the co-worker was a confidential informant for the Clarksdale Police Department.
Original report here
Posted by bussorah at 8:39 PM