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$1.5 million for Michigan man wrongfully convicted, then exonerated

A Michigan man who spent over 45 years in prison for a murder he did not commit received $1.5 million in compensation.

Richard Phillips, 73, was exonerated in 2018, which made him the longest-serving exoneree in the United States, after a co-defendant told the parole board in 2010 that Phillips had absolutely no role in the 1971 murder.

Under Michigan law, exonerees are entitled to $50,000 per year. Because Phillips was also serving a 15-year sentence for armed robbery, he was compensated for 30 years of wrongful incarceration.

After his release, Phillips sold paintings he did while in prison to make ends meet.

“We have an obligation to provide compassionate compensation to these men for the harm they suffered,” said Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.

“The attorney general’s office made a decision to pay him every penny he’s currently owed,” said Phillips’ attorney Gabi Silver. “I am very happy with how things have turned out.” See: Phillips v. State, Michigan Court of Claims, Case 18-00084.

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Related legal case

Phillips v. State