WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- After being wrongfully convicted of a murder leading to an imprisonment of 45 years, a 73-year-old Michigan man was absolved and granted $1.5M in compensation.
- A 1971 murder conviction led Richard Phillips to a life sentence, but was released in 2017 due to the efforts of University of Michigan law students and the prosecutor’s office in Wayne County.
- Based on state law, Phillips is deserving to receive more than $2M; $50,000 for each of the 45 years he was wrongfully detained.
An exonerated man from Michigan has been awarded $1.5 million in compensation after spending 45 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.
The compensation granted to Richard Phillips, 73, which was announced Friday by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel came as part of a $2.3 million worth of compensations awarded to three wrongfully convicted men. But before they actually receive the money, the payout must first be approved by state legislators.
In 1971, Phillips received a life sentence after being convicted of murder. Reportedly, he has served more time in prison than any other absolved inmate in American history. Thanks to the investigative efforts of law students from the University of Michigan who collaborated with the prosecutor’s office of Wayne County, Phillips was freed in 2017.
Phillips was entitled to receive $50,000 for every year he spent wrongfully imprisoned, totaling to more than $2 million, according to state law.
During his incarceration, Phillips turned to art as an escape.
With the money he made from selling cards to fellow inmates, the ex-auto worker was able to buy painting supplies which he used to paint inspirational images he’d find in newspapers. Phillips created 400 watercolor paintings while in prison which was mailed to a friend on the outside for safe keeping.
To make ends meet, he started selling some of that art earlier this year.
These days, his paintings are worth thousands of dollars.
Phillips is one of the “warmest, kindest, most considerate” people Gabi Silver, the attorney who represents Phillips, had ever met.
She went on to say, “To suffer what he has suffered, to still be able to find good in people and to still be able to see the beauty in life — it’s remarkable.”
Meanwhile, MLive.com reports that Nessel stated in a press release: “Conceding that no system is perfect, the government’s public recognition and overturning of the convictions of these men helps to foster a healing process, and assures Michiganders that the government — regardless of fault — will take ownership of its errors.”
The other receivers of the compensation were Neal Redick who, on charges of criminal sexual assaults against a minor, was imprisoned for more than 15 years before the accuser retracted his claim, and reserve police officer Raymond McCann who was convicted of perjury but new surveillance footage later proved him innocent.