Kansas to pay more than $1 million in first wrongful-conviction settlement

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- The Kansas Attorney General’s Office agreed to pay more than a million dollars to a wrongfully convicted man who spent 17 years behind bars. The settlement was the first under the state’s new mistaken-conviction statute.

In 2000, Richard Jones was found guilty of an aggravated robbery he did not commit. He was locked up from that June through June 2017. In all, the Attorney General’s Office says he spend 6,035 days in prison and another 164 days confined by bond or court supervision.

“In this case, it was possible on the existing record to resolve all issues quickly, satisfy all of the statute’s requirements, and agree to this outcome so Mr. Jones can receive the benefits to which he is entitled by law because he was mistakenly convicted,” Attorney General Derek Schmidt said.

Johnson Co. District Court Judge Kevin P. Moriarty approved the agreement Monday. In all, the relief for Jones includes:

  • A Certificate of Innocence
  • A total compensation of $1,103,945.16
  • Records of his arrest and conviction were ordered expunged and any biological samples associated with his mistaken conviction will be destroyed
  • Permission to participate in the state health care benefits program for 2019 and 2020
  • Counseling

The judgment is still subject to review by the State Financial Council. Schmidt said he has formally asked them to approve the settlement.

Two more mistaken-conviction lawsuits remain outstanding, one in Sedgwick Co. and one in Shawnee Co. that was filed by Floyd Bledsoe, who spent nearly 16 years in prison. He had been wrongfully convicted for the rape and murder of his 14-year-old sister in-law, a crime to which Bledsoe’s brother, Tom, later confessed.