Texas resident, Steven Phillips, has had a rough 30 years.
In 2009, after 24 years in prison, Phillips was declared innocent of the sexual assault charges that landed him behind bars. DNA evidence showed that sexual offender, Sydney Alvin Goodyear, not Phillips, had committed the offenses for which he was in prison.
His time in jail wrecked much of his life. Phillips spent almost three decades locked up waiting to for the world to believe his claim of innocence. He and his wife divorced in 1992 — 10 years after his sentence began. Phillips missed out on raising his child who was due the same year he was incarcerated.
Luckily for Phillips, the state of Texas has a law for wrongfully convicted residents. Phillips was awarded a $2 million lump-sum from the state. In addition, he will receive an $11,000 check every month. Phillips immediately had to cut a $1 million check to his legal team. Next, Phillips ex-wife came out of the woodwork looking to cash in on his money.
Despite being divorced for more than 20 years, Phillips' ex-wife, Traci Tucker, wants $150,000, over one year’s worth of Phillips monthly checks to make up for money she missed out on while he was in prison.
Here is the problem with Tucker’s case: Texas law does not award money based on missed wages. They award it on grounds of reparation for wrongful conviction.
“This is an example of the law of unintended consequences,” said state senator, Rafael Anchia. ”We did not think about entitlement by spouses who had become divorced from these innocent men while they were in prison.”
The law does, however, cover any child-raising costs. If Tucker wants the money based on the cost to raise the couple’s child, she is out of luck.
The case is likely headed to the Texas Supreme Court where judges will determine if Tucker is deserving of any of Phillips' awarded money.
Phillips insists he holds no hard feelings toward his ex-spouse, though he did offer this snide remark when asked about her quest for some of his money.
“When the cheese is on the table, the rats come out.”
Source: Daily Mail