Fundraiser for Lamar Johnson tops $140K, but lawmakers say Missouri should pay him

Before his release, a GoFundMe page set up for him by the Midwest Innocence Project had raised $9,000.


Lamar Johnson’s release Tuesday after 28 years in prison for a St. Louis murder he did not commit has prompted new calls from Missouri lawmakers to expand compensation to the exonerated. While Johnson, 49, spent more than half of his life as an innocent man in the Missouri Department of Corrections, he does not qualify for state restitution because DNA evidence did not play a role in his exoneration. Some lawmakers, including House Minority Leader Crystal Quade, a Democrat from Springfield, said that must change. Last month, she introduced a bill that would broaden who can receive state compensation — $100 for each day in prison after conviction — to people deemed “actually innocent” by evidence other than DNA.

“While Mr. Johnson celebrates alongside his family, his community and the thousands of people who have supported him along his journey, the state has an obligation to make him as whole as it can after it robbed him of nearly three decades of his life,” she said. If Quade’s proposal were law today, Johnson could have qualified to receive $1 million.

Instead, he is relying on the kindness of strangers. Before his release, a GoFundMe page set up for him by the Midwest Innocence Project had raised $9,000. Since then, the fundraiser has grown to $140,000, with contributions coming from as far as Germany. Last year, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle proposed changes following the release of Kevin Strickland, a Kansas City man who spent 42 years in Missouri prisons for a triple murder he did not commit. He also did not qualify for compensation. But legislation introduced last session, including a bill that would have raised wrongful conviction payments to $65,000 a year, did not pass.
Read more at:


On Key

Related Posts

A History of BIPOC Home Ownership in America
Meta: Many middle-class families have a generational benefit of homeownership. Learn about the challenges that BIPOC homeowners face in pursuing the American Dream.