Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt cleared the path for settlement negotiations in a wrongful conviction lawsuit brought by Lamont McIntyre—a man who served 23 years for a crime he did not commit.
“Because we knew there was evidence that was never placed in front of a court—before we just signed off on a claim—-we had an obligation to the new court to collect and review all of the evidence. We’ve now done that,” Schmidt said.
In an Associated Press interview, Schmidt said, ”My office made the decision after reviewing 900 pages of documents from Lamont McIntyer’s attorney that had not been provided previously.”
McIntyre was convicted for killing two men in broad daylight when he was 17 years old. He was sentenced to two life terms in prison, in a trial that provided no motive nor any physical evidence.
“Today’s decision by the Kansas Attorney General goes one step further, by recognizing that Lamonte qualifies for compensation under the Kansas statute,” Cheryl Pilate, McIntyre’s attorney said. She added, “Lamonte is still dealing with the effects of 23 years of wrongful imprisonment, but the funding and other support by the statute will now make his load a little easier to bear.”
Former Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer, who signed the Wrongful-Conviction Compensation Law, apologized to Kansas’s exonerated men and added, “We will make it right.”
Based on the 2018 law, McIntyre may receive $65,000 for each year of imprisonment, attorney fees, health insurance benefits, financial assistance for higher education, fees for counseling and various other social services, the AP article noted.
McIntyre’s settlement claim, which is essentially a lawsuit involving the state, will still have to have its language reviewed by Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly and the top eight leaders of the Republican-controlled Legislature before compensation can be allocated.