The State of Texas has rejected the application from Anthony Graves to receive compensation for his wrongful conviction and 18 years on Texas death row.
The Texas Comptroller’s Office has denied state compensation to Anthony Graves, who spent 18 years behind bars before a special prosecutor determined he was innocent and authorities dropped capital murder charges against him, Graves’ attorney said today.
The state determined that Graves, 45, who would have received $1.4 million had he been deemed eligible, should receive nothing because the word “innocence” was not used in the document ordering his release, according to Graves’ attorney, Nicole Casarez.
Casarez said she was informed of the refusal Friday after phoning the comptroller’s office to find out why she hadn’t received a response even though the 45-day limit to act on Graves’ request had lapsed.
A letter e-mailed to Casarez from the comptroller’s office said that the order dismissing the charges must say that Graves is innocent. Casarez said the office should have taken her client’s unique circumstances into consideration.
“I had spoken to so many people who seemed to think it was possible, I did get my hopes up and I am very disappointed,” Casarez said. “I know that he is very disappointed, too.”
Graves can’t seek a pardon from Gov. Rick Perry, Casarez said, because he has nothing to be pardoned for and asking for a pardon would be tantamount to admitting guilt. She said a civil suit seeking compensation was one of several options that would be discussed with attorneys who specialize in that particular type of law.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2006 overturned Graves’ 1994 conviction for the slaying of a grandmother, her 16-year-old granddaughter and four grandchildren in Somerville, Burleson County.
The appeals court found that the prosecution withheld information from the defense and elicited false testimony.
A new trial was ordered and former Harris County Assistant District Attorney Kelly Siegler took over the case as special prosecutor in 2010. She found the original investigation riddled with errors and recommended to Burleson-Washington County District Attorney Bill Parham that the charges be dropped.
Parham agreed and both said at an October news conference that Graves was innocent.
Casarez said other attorneys had assured her that the comptroller’s office could approve the compensation because of the public statement’s prosecutors had made about his innocence.
“Even though the order didn’t contain those magical words … I was certain the Comptroller’s Office would take a very full look at it,” she said.
Shortly before Thanksgiving, Texas Moratorium Network delivered $3,000 to Anthony Graves that we raised from our supporters and friends. Now that the State of Texas is refusing to compensate Anthony, there may be more people who want to make a donation to Anthony, so here is the link to make an online donation by credit card. You may also send a check made out to “Texas Moratorium Network” to 3616 Far West Blvd, Suite 117, Box 251, Austin, Texas 78731. Donations to TMN are not tax-deductible. Please mark on your check that you donation is for Anthony Graves.
KVUE’s Jennie Huerta reported on our delivery of $3,000 in donations we collected from Texas Moratorium Network’s supporters and friends from across Texas, other U.S. states and other countries. Scott Cobb, president of TMN, and friends from Campaign to End the Death Penalty and Witness to Innocence delivered the donations to Anthony on Saturday, November 20. Watch the video on YouTube.