Three men from Baltimore who were teenagers when they were wrongly convicted of murder in 1984 are set to receive $2.9 million ($4.6m NZD) each from the state of Maryland under a proposed compensation plan that the Board of Public Works is scheduled to vote on Wednesday.
Alfred Chestnut, Ransom Watkins and Andrew Stewart were each 16 years old when the Baltimore police accused them in the November 1983 slaying of a 14-year-old boy inside Harlem Park Junior High School. They ignored all eye witness reports which pointed to one person.
Maryland has no requirement for compensating wrongly convicted defendants, instead allowing them to petition the Board of Public Works which “may grant a reasonable amount,” but for many years did not. But a bill is pending in the Maryland General Assembly which would require the board to pay wrongly convicted individuals.
The bill calls for paying those wrongly convicted an amount for every year they were incarcerated, which is the U.S. Census Bureau’s average of Maryland’s median household income in the previous five years. For Maryland, that figure is now $81,868 . Multiplied by 36 years, that total is slightly more than $2.9 million