Story Archive

Justice, Served Even Colder

Remember Anthony Graves? He spent 18 years on death row until a witness recanted, and prosecutors declared him innocent. The Texas Comptroller’s office refused to grant him compensation because the words “actual innocence” were not in his release document. Now they are garnishing his wages for child support he owed during his time on death row, but couldn’t earn a living. According to Attorney General spokesman Jerry Strickland, the system that tagged Graves for the payments is automated, but their office is obligated to collect the money because the court ordered him to pay it. He said the child support division “regularly files wage withholding orders without any involvement from the executive office, and that is exactly what happened in this case.” The final insult came when Graves spoke to an overflow crowd at Prairie View A&M University, and his $250 honorarium was withheld. “While we are deeply offended by the ridiculous and meritless claims lodged by Anthony Graves’ counsel,” said Strickland, “this office has nothing but sympathy for Mr. Graves. His experience is truly troubling and deeply compelling.” (MS/Houston Chronicle) ...And while we are deeply offended by your ridiculous and meritless actions, we have nothing but sympathy for your constituents.
Story Update: Graves was eventually awarded $1.4 million for the time he spent imprisoned, and the prosecutor who put him in prison was ultimately disbarred for concealing exculpatory evidence and using false testimony in the case.
Original Publication Date: 22 May 2011
This story is in True’s book collections, in Volume 17.
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