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Virginia Legislature Awards Wrongfully Convicted Man $1.5 Million

The Virginia legislature has passed a bill awarding nearly $1.5 million to a man who spent 15 years in prison for a crime he did not commit.

Marvin Anderson was convicted by a Virginia court in December 1982 of abduction, sodomy, rape and robbery. He was sentenced to 210 years in prison. Another man, John Otis Lincoln, admitted under oath in 1988 that he committed the crimes for which Anderson was imprisoned, but a judge deemed the evidence unreliable.

Anderson continued to fight his conviction after he was paroled in 1997. However, Anderson's efforts to exonerate himself through retesting of the DNA evidence by more modern methods were stonewalled by the state of Virginia and law enforcement authorities who claimed the evidence had been either misplaced or destroyed.

On May 2, 2001, Virginia passed a law allowing certain prisoners and parolees access to untested DNA evidence if the evidence was relevant to their guilt or innocence. After the legislation was passed, physical evidence related to Anderson's case surfaced. Retesting exonerated Anderson; it also led to Lincoln's indictment for the crimes. Anderson was awarded a full pardon by Virginia Governor Mark Warner on August 22, 2002.

On April 2, 2003, the Virginia legislature passed an amended compensation package for Anderson. Under the bill, Anderson will receive a cash payment of $443,000 and an annuity valued at just over $1.1 million. The annuity will be in the form of monthly paymentsapproximately $2,100 a monthfor 45 years.

Anderson is lucky. Most wrongfully convicted persons never receive a penny in compensationit's just a shame it took the legislature to do it.

Sources:, bttp://, Associated Press

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