Assisting wrongly convicted

Print Article

We are board members of the Montana Innocence Project, which works to exonerate the innocent and prevent wrongful convictions. Our client Richard Burkhart was 23 years old when he was wrongly convicted of murder in Great Falls. Two years ago, at age 38, he was finally exonerated after the Montana Innocence Project found a police report of another person confessing to the crime.

The state of Montana unjustly took Richard’s freedom, but has not given him a dime to help him rebuild his life. In 32 other states, Richard would be eligible for monetary compensation. However, Montana’s compensation law provides only for tuition assistance for DNA exonerees, and even that limited program has not been funded. Regardless, Richard is ineligible because he was exonerated with non-DNA evidence.

Montana’s compensation law is also unfair to taxpayers. Without financial compensation from the state, Richard’s only redress is to file a federal lawsuit against the government entities that contributed to his wrongful conviction.

These lawsuits often take years to resolve, leaving taxpayers on the hook for paying for years of litigation costs. And, if the exoneree prevails there is no limit on the award.

Montana exonerees and taxpayers deserve a better deal. HJ 36 calls for an interim study on exoneree compensation and lawmakers should make this a priority. You can help by asking your state senator and representative to prioritize this interim study.

Dan Weinberg, Leif “Bart” Erickson and Parker Kelly serve on the Board of Directors for the Montana Innocence Project.

Print Article

Read More

Robert R. Collins

July 17, 2019 at 12:30 pm | Whitefish Pilot Robert R. Collins, 87, of Whitefish, passed away peacefully July 8, 2019 at the Montana Veterans Home. Robert is survived by his wife Barbara, daughter Chris Zignego and son Robert Collins Jr. Arra...

Comments

Read More

Couple grateful for those who assisted with flat tire

July 17, 2019 at 12:30 pm | Whitefish Pilot We are 80 year-old Canadians who have been coming to Whitefish for over 40 years. Recently we were driving down from Kimberley and stopped for dinner at Point of Rocks Restaurant about 25 miles west ...

Comments

Read More

Whitefish, pleasant surprise

July 17, 2019 at 12:30 pm | Whitefish Pilot What a surprise Whitefish is! We are traveling around the USA from Australia. When looking for places to stay we were dissuaded to stay in Whitefish, instead persuaded to Kalispell, as the forum we ...

Comments

Read More

Cautious of water conservation

July 17, 2019 at 12:30 pm | Whitefish Pilot To the citizens of Whitefish; putting aside the remaining and unanswered questions about how the city let itself get into a position of having to limit water use citywide when no other town in the va...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(406) 862-3505
312 E. Second Street
Whitefish, MT 59937

©2019 Whitefish Pilot Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X