Texas Comptroller Lobbied to Deny Payment for Wrongly Convicted Man
|Pressemitteilung von: Androvett Legal Media|
|PR Agentur: Androvett Legal Media|
|(openPR) - Attorneys for Billy Frederick Allen: Comptroller continues to block payment after lawmakers rejected lobbying attempt
AUSTIN – Attorneys for a wrongly convicted Dallas man who spent 26 years in prison have filed court documents charging that Texas Comptroller Susan Combs’ office unsuccessfully lobbied the Legislature to create a technicality within the Tim Cole Act of 2011 in an effort to block the man from receiving compensation for the years he spent locked up.
According to documents filed this week with the Supreme Court of Texas by attorneys representing Billy Frederick Allen, the Texas comptroller’s office lobbied State Sen. Rodney Ellis to add specific wording to the Tim Cole Act of 2011 that would have disqualified Mr. Allen from receiving compensation based on a technicality. In a May 2011 email reply, Sen. Ellis rejected the comptroller’s request, explaining that he was “not comfortable” with the suggested language because “it may exclude some persons who are actually innocent from getting compensation.”
Despite passage of the Tim Cole Act of 2011 without the comptroller’s requested language, the comptroller’s office continues to refuse to pay Mr. Allen. As part of a yearlong effort to obtain compensation for Mr. Allen, his attorneys have filed a lawsuit with the Supreme Court of Texas. Mr. Allen is represented by Kristopher Moore of McKinney, Texas-based Harrison & Hull LLP, and Kevin Glasheen of Lubbock-based Glasheen, Valles, Inderman & Dehoyos.
Mr. Allen spent 26 years in Texas prisons for the 1983 murders of Raven Lashbrook and James Sewell before he was declared “actually innocent” by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in 2009. Mr. Allen hired Mr. Moore and Mr. Glasheen in 2010 to help obtain the statutory compensation he is entitled to by law.
Attorneys for the comptroller’s office do not dispute Mr. Allen’s innocence but claim that he is not technically eligible for compensation because the Court of Criminal Appeals also determined that he received ineffective representation from his attorney during his original trial. In emails to Sen. Ellis, the comptroller’s office sought unsuccessfully to include language in the Tim Cole Act that would limit compensation eligibility to those “solely” declared actually innocent without any other findings such as Mr. Allen’s.
“These emails exchanged between the comptroller and Senator Ellis’ office show that the Legislature intended for Billy Allen and others like him to be compensated,” says Mr. Moore. “It’s inexplicable why the comptroller continues to argue that he should not be paid.”
The comptroller’s office must respond to the latest filings by August 22. The case is In Re Billy Frederick Allen, No. 10-0886.
Mr. Glasheen, who has successfully represented more than a dozen exonerated Texans and was instrumental in creating the Tim Cole Act of 2009, says Mr. Allen’s case shows how difficult it can be for some exonerees to obtain their due compensation.
“Getting compensation should be as simple as filling out a one-page form,” he says. “Unfortunately, the comptroller continues to deny claims, even for people like Billy Allen who are clearly eligible.”
The same team of attorneys represented exoneree Billy James Smith in a successful lawsuit against the comptroller earlier in 2011. As a result, Mr. Smith and two other wrongly convicted men were awarded compensation that the comptroller had sought to deny.
To speak with Mr. Moore or Mr. Glasheen about the recent filing, contact Robert Tharp at 214-559-4630 or Robert@androvett.com.
Glasheen, Valles & Inderman is a trial litigation firm that represents people who have been injured in accidents. The firm handles all kinds of accident claims from automobile accidents to catastrophic injuries and has extensive experience in oil field accidents, truck wrecks and work injuries.
Androvett Legal Media
2301 Oak Lawn Ave. Suite 650
Dallas, Texas 75219