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Paid $833K For 22 Years In Jail, Innocent Man Wants More

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He was wrongly convicted of rape and robbery and served 22 years in prison before DNA evidence freed him in 2002. Now Clark McMillan, 58, says the $832,000 the state of Tennessee paid him is not enough to right the wrong, the Tennessean reports. McMillan, the first man in the state to be cleared after a wrongful conviction, says medical bills have eaten up most of the settlement, and those years in prison left him without job skills. A gunshot wound when he was 18 left McMillan, who is diabetic, paralyzed in his right leg. “I’m treated like I should be glad to have gotten something,” McMillan told the Tennessean. “There has been nothing to cover job training, placement, medical care, post-traumatic stress. Help me restore my dignity so I can get a job. My compensation is controlled by the state and they dictate what my life is worth.”

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State lawmakers in 2004 voted to pay McMillan $250,000 up front and the rest in a monthly annuity of $3,400. Although McMillan’s criminal record was expunged, he said there is still a stigma with potential employers. On Tuesday, McMillan will ask the state Parole Board to recommend he be granted a formal exoneration. If allowed, it would allow him to seek more compensation. “There is not enough money to compensate people going through something like that,” says McMillan’s lawyer, who’s a former state legislator. “They should increase the compensation and lower the bar” for exoneration. McMillan was convicted in 1980 for the rape and robbery of a 16-year-old girl in Memphis and sentenced to 119 years in prison. The Innocence Project took over his case in 1996 and eventually uncovered DNA evidence that cleared him. “I’m not angry,” McMillan told CNN when he left prison.

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