No compensation for wrongfully-convicted Lamonte McIntyre, others in Kansas

Posted at 9:40 PM, Oct 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-17 16:14:59-04

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A free man for less than a week, Lamonte McIntyre says he is just trying to take his time trying to get "acclimated" and get "back to [his] life."

But at age 42, he is starting from scratch — he has no resume, no work experience.

Even though he spent years behind bars for a crime he never committed, McIntyre will get no financial or social support from the state.

Kansas, where McIntyre was incarcerated, is one of 18 states that offers zero compensation for those who've been wrongfully convicted.

In Missouri, the state will pay $50 a day for wrongful incarceration. However, the individual must be proven innocent by DNA.

Colorado offers $70,000 a year. Michigan gives $50,000 a year.

"We are stealing a part of their lives and they are not guilty of what they've done. And they should have more than an apology from the state," said Kansas State Sen. David Haley, a Democrat from Kansas City, Kansas.

For the last two years, Haley has tried to push for a bill to compensate individuals who have been wrongfully convicted. Both times, his bills have failed.

Last year, Senate Bill 125 had a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill would have compensated individuals $80,000 for each year of wrongful incarceration, similar to what the state of Texas pays.

The committee ultimately requested the Kansas Judicial Council to examine the issue further and look at what other states were doing. According to the council's executive director, Nancy Strouse, the council didn't have time to complete a comprehensive study but agreed to assist in research on existing laws and policies in other states. Later, the Legislative Research Department was asked to conduct the research instead.

However, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee told 41 Action News Monday legislative research is working on a "roadmap" for lawmakers by looking up what other states do. The goal would be to find a good plan that best fits Kansas.

Part of McIntyre's legal team has set up a site to help fundraise for his future. The goal is set at $5,000 and was more than halfway met Monday.

Editor's note: A previous version of this story stated that the Kansas Judicial Council declined to look into compensation for people who were wrongfully-convicted. Kansas Judicial Council Executive Director Nancy J. Strouse later told 41 Action News that the council didn't have time for a comprehensive study but agreed to look into policies in other states and later asked the Legislative Research Department to conduct the research instead. The story has been updated.