The conviction of a Louisiana man imprisoned for nearly four decades for a 1979 rape was thrown out by DNA evidence in January 2018.
The freed prisoner from Jefferson Parish is now seeking to be compensated for being wrongfully convicted.
Previous Story: 53- year-old Louisiana man exonerated after rape conviction over 36 years ago
The New Orleans Advocate reports that attorneys for Malcolm Alexander took his argument for compensation to a state appeals court Thursday.
A ruling in Alexander’s favor from the Louisiana 5th Circuit Court of Appeal would entitle him to $400,000 — $40,000 for each year of wrongful imprisonment, capped at 10 years, according to Alexander’s attorney, Zachary Crawford of the Innocence Project New Orleans.
Attorneys for Alexander, now age 62, say DNA from evidence collected at the rape scene matched neither the victim nor Alexander.
A state judge later ruled that Alexander was not eligible for money from the state innocence compensation fund because the evidence used to help set him free did not legally establish his "factual innocence."
"If I had my way, I would give you the compensation, and you just give me back the years I lost out of my life," Alexander said.
According to Crawford, Louisiana has granted every wrongful conviction compensation claim that has been based, in part, on DNA evidence. "Every single one except this case," he said.
"I just need people to realize that I'm innocent. Receiving the compensation will cap it off in saying, 'All right, we apologize fully,'" Alexander said.
The state attorney general's office, which will argue against Alexander's petition, did not return a request for comment on Wednesday.