Perry Signs Wrongful Convictions Payment Bill

AUSTIN (AP) – Gov. Rick Perry has signed into law a bill authorizing $1.4 million for a man wrongly imprisoned for nearly two decades over slayings he did not commit.

Anthony Graves, 45, spent 18 years in prison, including a dozen years on death row. A 2009 Texas law says exonerees can receive $80,000 for every year they were imprisoned.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2006 overturned Graves’ conviction and ordered a new trial for him in the 1992 deaths of a grandmother and five children in Somerville. Graves, who had maintained his innocence, was declared innocent last fall by a special prosecutor.

In February, Texas Comptroller Susan Combs denied compensation for Graves because the order detailing his exoneration lacked the words “actual innocence.”

Perry, who signed the bill Friday, supported compensation efforts for Graves, the Houston Chronicle reported Tuesday.

An internal memo released last November by the Internal Revenue Service indicates the agency has reinterpreted existing law so that compensation for exonerated former prisoners is treated like money received in a personal injury settlement and not subject to federal income taxes.

Texas does not have a state income tax.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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