Man Awarded $9.2 Million for Wrongful Imprisonment for Rape

A Washington, D.C. man has been awarded $9.2 million in damages after being wrongfully imprisoned for more than 22 years. So reports The Washington Post.

Kirk L. Odom was convicted of rape and robbery. At the time the crime occurred, Odom was only 18 years old. After his release in 2012, he sought compensation from the District of Columbia. The award—only the second in a wrongful imprisonment compensation case tried before a D.C. District judge—is reportedly one of the largest non-jury wrongful imprisonment awards in the United States.

The District of Columbia has authority to award compensation to the wrongfully imprisoned under the D.C. Unjust Imprisonment Act, which is similar to Washington state’s wrongful conviction compensation law. The Washington state statute limits compensation, though, to $50,000 for each year a person is wrongfully imprisoned.

In deciding the amount of compensation, the Washington D.C. judge considered the “profound” consequences of Odom’s imprisonment: several prison rapes, a resulting HIV diagnosis, suicide attempts, depression, and estrangement from his family, which included a daughter born weeks from his trial for the rape and robbery.

According to The Washington Post, Odom’s award was calculated as $1000 per day of incarnation, $250 per day spent on parole, and $200 per day between exoneration and trial.

Odom was released after new DNA testing revealed another had committed the rape. Odom was originally convicted on faulty FBI hair analysis. The Department of Justice (DOJ) has began reviewing thousands of convictions based on the FBI hair forensics and testimony; I wrote about the DOJ review here. Odom is one of five Washington men convicted of rape or murder who have been released after new DNA testing proved the FBI hair analysis to be faulty.