Man Who Spent 35 Years in Prison for a Crime He Didn’t Commit Will Receive $1.75 Million

( — An innocent man who spent over 30 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit will receive $1.75 million from the state of Michigan due to a new policy that compensates the wrongfully convicted. Authorities initially arrested and convicted Louis Wright for sexually assaulting a young girl in 1988, despite Wright’s protestations of innocence. Police claimed that Wright confessed to the heinous act but failed to provide either a written or taped confession during Wright’s criminal proceedings. Despite the circumstantial evidence against Wright, the innocent man spent 30 years in prison.

Despite his arrest, authorities never asked the victim to identify Wright as her attacker. Following a lengthy legal battle, Wright pleaded no contest and received a 25- to 50-year sentence. Wright then attempted to withdraw his plea during his sentencing hearing, but the judge overseeing his proceedings denied his request. After spending 20 years in prison, Wright became eligible for parole, but he had to take a sex offender therapy course before release. Wright refused to take the course and remained in prison until his exoneration.

Wright claims that he knew refusing the course would “cost him a few years,” but he wanted to stand up against the wrongful conviction. Eventually, authorities conducted a DNA swab of Wright’s mouth, which he said he knew would exonerate him for the offense. Following his release, Wright received $1.75 million from Michigan due to a policy that provides the wrongfully incarcerated with $50,000 per year for each year of their prison sentence.

Upon Wright’s release, his attorney, Wolf Mueller, filed a lawsuit against the police responsible for his arrest. Mueller claims that the police knowingly violated Wright’s constitutional rights during the 1988 investigation into the crime and is seeking more than $100 million in damages. Although Mueller’s lawsuit is ongoing, a settlement is unlikely, given the amount sought by Mueller and Wright.

Wright’s exoneration came following a report from the Cooley Law School Innocence Project, which confirmed that the DNA found at the crime scene came from someone other than Wright. Upon learning that Wright couldn’t have committed the crime, the Calhoun County prosecutor confirmed that authorities would reopen the investigation and find the person responsible for the 1988 assault.

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