John Huffington was pardoned in January for a 1981 double murder he didn’t commit (article available here).
And, on Wednesday, Maryland awarded the exoneree nearly $2.9 million for the 32 years he was wrongly imprisoned — 10 of which he’d spent on death row.
His compensation, calculated by an administrative law judge at $91,431 per year, comes under a 2021 law that allows the wrongly convicted to seek a financial remedy. That same year, the Maryland Supreme Court — which was then known as the Maryland Court of Appeals — disbarred the prosecutor who sought Huffington’s conviction, citing egregious missteps in the case, including withholding evidence.
Comptroller Brooke E. Lierman (D) said she brought her 10-year-old son to watch “because I wanted him to witness and understand that government makes massive failures sometimes, but we have to put people in place to try to correct those.”
Huffington was in prison when his mother died in 2008 and was not permitted to attend her funeral, something he said in a 2021 interview was impossible to process.
Former Harford County state’s attorney Joseph I. Cassilly, who had handled Huffington’s case for 36 years before retiring, was disbarred by the state’s Supreme Court in 2021.
The judges wrote in a 97-page ruling that Cassilly had committed “various instances of intentionally dishonest misconduct” and that he “intentionally failed to disclose exculpatory evidence as a prosecutor for over a decade” in Huffington’s case.