59-year-old Ricky Jackson was recently awarded $1 million for spending 39 years in jail for a crime that he did not commit.Jackson spent more time in jail than any other exonerated person in US history.
Jackson was wrongfully charged with murder in 1975, and spent his days in prison until the only witness of the murder came forward and recanted his testimony, nearly 40 years later.
Jackson’s attorney, Michele Berry, said that he has been able to maintain a healthy attitude in the face of a tragic situation.
Many years into his sentence, Jackson was offered his freedom in exchange for pleading guilty to the crimes he was accused. He refused.
“It’s been an honor to work for and with Ricky, He’s probably the wisest person I’ve ever met,”Berry said.
“After going through all that he did, I think he’s conquered humanity. To even have a small part in helping him to get his next 39 years underway and to get these payments from the state is an honor,” she added.
Sadly, as with many of these settlements it is unclear exactly how much money Jackson will actually see in the end, or how much time it time it will be before the payments begin.
When asked about the settlement, Jackson said, “I really have to take my hat off to the prosecutors and the state for admitting their errors.”
According to a recent report from the National Registry of Exonerations at the University of Michigan Law School, 125 falsely accused prisoners were exonerated in 2014. This is actually a record number of exonerations for one year’s time and is an increase of one-third since 2012.