We'll see what the SCOT says, but I was under the impression this question was settled after the compensation decisions surrounding the Tulia episode, which were debated at oral argument, reports Lindell:
Complicating the comptroller's case is an attorney general's opinion related to the 1999 Tulia drug sweep, a botched affair that prompted Gov. Rick Perry to pardon 35 people whose convictions were tainted by misconduct by a prosecutor and an unsupervised undercover investigator.Lindell also included this tidbit on the number of exonerees who've received compensation under the new statute passed last session:
One of those pardoned ended up serving concurrent prison sentences when his probation on an unrelated drug charge was revoked. Asked in 2007 whether the man could still receive state compensation for wrongful imprisonment, Abbott's office said yes.
During oral arguments, several Supreme Court justices asked about the apparent discrepancy between giving state money to somebody who was on probation but not somebody on parole.
"Both probation and parole are forms of conditional release, that is true, but it is not proper to say the two are the same," Lionberger responded.
"When someone receives a probated sentence, they don't actually serve a sentence. (The sentence) is probated; it is postponed," he said. "If you complete your probation, you will not have ever suffered a criminal sentence."
Parole, however, is offered to people who are serving a prison sentence, Lionberger said. Their sentences continue even after they're freed, he said, with custody simply transferring from the institutional division to the parole division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
A round of skeptical questions followed.
Texas has paid $42.4 million* to 16 exonerated inmates since state law changed Sept. 1, 2009, to increase compensation for wrongful convictions.Since the $42.4 million figure includes future annuities, the state has really so far only paid out a little over half that sum.
Compensation was cut a total of $4.16 million* for five of those inmates because of prior convictions.
*Includes a lump-sum payment and a matching annuity.
Source: Texas comptroller's office