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Former Va. inmate refuses $226K payoff

A Virginia man who spent eight years in prison for a rape he didn't commit is refusing a $226,000 state payoff, saying it comes with too many strings attached.

Victor Burnette received the settlement in August, but has refused to cash a check for the initial $45,000 payment.

The 57-year-old Richmond man is upset that under the terms of the agreement, the rest of the money will be paid out over 25 years.

He's also is upset about a stipulation that says he loses the money if he is ever convicted of a felony.

Virginia is one of 27 states that compensates the wrongly convicted for their time in prison. Most agreements come with conditions.

Advocates say the laws are too paternalistic, but lawmakers say states aren't obligated to pay anything.

-- Associated Press

By Washington Post Editors  | October 27, 2010; 7:39 AM ET
Categories:  Prison Beat, Virginia  
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Comments

"He's also is upset about a stipulation that says he looses the money if he is ever convicted of a felony."

Stellar proofing!

Posted by: TheOriginalEgon | October 27, 2010 8:10 AM | Report abuse

States aren't obligated to pay anything....well who is? This is so unfortunate for the wrongly accused. Who is to compensate this person for all the moments in time that he/she missed? The job that was lost? The separation from his family/children...the stigma of being incarcerated for 8 LONG YEARS....someone should feel obligated! I want to give him something and I dont even know the person. I wish this person all the best in the world and I hope he tell his story over and over again until this flawed juditial system is shamed into doing something ...but, shame realisticly, I dont think they have a clue themselves of right or wrong just "close the case"

Posted by: mslovejoye68 | October 27, 2010 9:06 AM | Report abuse

if i was wrongly convicted of a felony once, i wouldn't put it past the government to do it again to avoid paying out the rest of the settlement money.

just give the guy the whole amount, no strings attached.

thats a small price to pay for 8 years of someones life.

Posted by: MarilynManson | October 27, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Sad...Shame on VA...there is a great likly hood he wouldn't make it to his last payment at age 81....

Too bad this guy is Black.....STAMPED...

Posted by: 4thFloor | October 27, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

So, he gets screwed twice. Ain't American justice grand?

Posted by: jckdoors | October 27, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

I personally think that it smells really bad -in fact it stinks- for guys to get paid by the state if they are convicted and sent to jail for years for something they didn't do.

It seriously undermines the criminal justice system and will probably lead to even *more* wrongful convictions. People will say "well let's convict him and if it turns out that he's innocent he'll get a large check so it'll be ok".

I can tell you for a fact that no check would make up for sticking me in a state pen for 8 years with a bunch of sadistic homos. And I wouldn't want anyone to think that it would either. You don't think that someone is responsible for a crime, don't lock them up. You think they are, then lock them up. That's how the ball bounces. And if they were "wrongfully convicted" due to a malicious act on the part of some state employee? Lock *THEM* up. Don't try to cut a check to make up for it. That just puts a price on human suffering and says that we can all make everything better with money.

Posted by: chucklebuck | October 27, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

"if i was wrongly convicted of a felony once, i wouldn't put it past the government to do it again to avoid paying out the rest of the settlement money."

...indeed he was wrongfully convicted once, why not do it again.

But he's right, he should sue the state and then get it on his terms, not theirs. The courts can then worry about exactly why the state is offering the money in the first place.

Posted by: chucklebuck | October 27, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

The payout over 25 years assumes a life expectancy of 82 years for the 57 year-old man. That's probably too optimistic. Maybe the extra money would go to his estate, but then again he may not have heirs that he wants to share the money with after being wrongly imprisoned.

The contingency of no felony conviction is completely unfounded. The wronged person is not guilty, and there must be no implication that he would re-offend, err offend. Or maybe the state is admitting that wrongly convicting an innocent person creates a capacity for criminal conduct where none existed before.

Posted by: blasmaic | October 27, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

The payout over 25 years assumes a life expectancy of 82 years for the 57 year-old man. That's probably too optimistic. Maybe the extra money would go to his estate, but then again he may not have heirs that he wants to share the money with after being wrongly imprisoned.

The contingency of no felony conviction is completely unfounded. The wronged person is not guilty, and there must be no implication that he would re-offend, err offend. Or maybe the state is admitting that wrongly convicting an innocent person creates a capacity for criminal conduct where none existed before.

Posted by: blasmaic | October 27, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Virginia just sucks. They owe him more than that amount and they should have paid it in a lump sum, or at a maximum, over 8 years--the time he was frongfully imprisoned.

Posted by: PepperDr | October 27, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Just pay the man and get it over with.

Posted by: PracticalIndependent | October 27, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

I don't blame him, especially with him pushing 60. But the part about him losing the money if ever convicted is also a laugh riot.

Posted by: lulu202 | October 27, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Agreed with those who believe Mr Burnette should be skeptical of accepting the money on VA's terms. Let's see....they already convicted me once of a felony I didn't convict and now they are willing to give me 226k over 25 years with strings attached....one of them being I can't be convicted of another felony.....Well if you the state can convict me of a felony I didn't commit what's to stop you from doing it again? 8 years is a long time to have taken from someone's life. The financial burden his family has suffered is tremendous....Huge sums of money to pay for the trial and appeals, lost of income. Not to mention the emotional impact to him and his family. I would be bitter. And no way I would ever trust the government or law enforcement again.

Posted by: 6thsense79 | October 27, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

I think I would refuse the $603 a month as well.

Posted by: scott9050 | October 27, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

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