A Dallas newspaper editorial says:
The absurdity of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott seizing a $250 check due to Anthony Graves underscores the point that the state’s best-known exoneree still has not received justice.The system is sick. Those kids are grown now. The man obviously did not have any money or income while he was on death row. The money would not go to the children anyway.
Graves, wrongfully convicted of capital murder in 1994, was released in October after 18 years of incarceration, most of it on death row. A special prosecutor handling a retrial of his case cited fabricated evidence and unethical pressure on witnesses by her predecessor when prosecutors asked a state court to drop all charges. The court readily agreed.
The obvious next step would have been for Graves to receive compensation from the state under the Timothy Cole Compensation Act, which allots $80,000 to wrongfully convicted people for every year of their life taken by the state. Instead, because the court did not use the words “actual innocence” in its release order, Comptroller Susan Combs said the state should not pay. Despite criticism from Gov. Rick Perry — and pretty much everyone else — the comptroller has stood by this decision, which has prompted a lawsuit.
Now, while all of this is going on, an automated system in the Texas attorney general’s office tagged Graves for owing back payments of child support for 1998-2002. Why was he behind? The fact that he was locked up on death row might have had something to do with it.