Michael Evans and Dana Holland, both exonerated after long prison sentences because of evidence brought to light by Northwestern University School of Law’s Center on Wrongful Convictions, will file complaints today, Tuesday, Feb. 22, in the Illinois Court of Claims seeking compensation for wrongful incarceration.
Evans and Holland spent 27 and 10 years, respectively, in prison, for horrible crimes committed by other people, and on Jan. 6 Gov. Rod Blagojevich gave them pardons that officially removes the convictions from their records and qualifies them for restitution.
Evans will receive approximately $160,000 and Holland approximately $140,000.
Their attorney Karen Daniel, staff attorney and clinical assistant professor at the Center on Wrongful Convictions, also represented them in the proceedings that led to their DNA exonerations and in their clemency proceedings.
“Michael Evans and Dana Holland, of course, are struggling financially,” said Daniel. “While the Court of Claims awards couldn’t possibly make up for the many years lost to wrongful convictions, the money will provide short-term financial security as they continue to rebuild their lives.
“Gov. Blagojevich pledged to help expedite these compensation requests, and it is only fair that the Court of Claims judgments and the necessary legislative appropriations be completed by the end of this fiscal year.”
Evans was convicted as a teenager in 1977 and served more than 27 years for the rape and murder of a nine-year-old Chicago girl before his exoneration by DNA testing in 2003. Holland served more than 10 years on two wrongful convictions -- a sexual assault and a separate armed robbery -- before his exoneration in 2003.