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Brothers receive $750K apiece in wrongful conviction case

A wrongful conviction in California courts can cause a great deal of difficulty for defendants and their loved ones. This was the case for a pair of brothers in North Carolina, who spent decades in prison for the rape and murder of an 11-year old girl in 1983. Although the state has paid each of the men $750,000 to compensate them for their wrongful conviction, family members express frustration and anger over the harm done to their family and to the men through the years.

At the time of the incident, the men were 15 and 19 years of age. Their attorneys indicate that the men had low IQs and that they were led into signing their confessions. However, DNA evidence exonerated the men decades later, allowing them to be freed and pardoned. The older of the two men has adjusted to his life outside of prison, but the other brother has dealt with serious mental health issues that may be due in part to his being sexually assaulted while in prison.

The funds that the men have received will be invested so that they don't have to worry about finding employment. Several other states provide for compensation to be given to individuals who have dealt with wrongful conviction. Meanwhile, officials might charge the person whose DNA was found on materials from the crime scene. This individual is currently serving time for a separate murder.

In a hypothetical situation, young individuals might be intimidated during the interview process related to a crime without realizing their rights to criminal defense assistance. A lawyer may be important to ensure that a confession is not elicited through intimidation or other inappropriate interview methods.

Source: ABC News, "Wrongly Convicted Brothers Each Get $750K Payout", Jonathan Drew, Associated Press, Sept. 2, 2015

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