A Christian man who was declared innocent after serving 34 years in jail says he has no hate for anyone over the injustice.
57-year-old Sidney Holmes walked free this week after being wrongfully convicted for being the getaway driver in a Florida armed robbery in 1988.
He was sentenced to 400-years in jail after the prosecution sought a term that was twice as long.
Mr. Holmes said that with the Christian faith he has, “I can’t have hate or hold any rage or fury.”
A recent investigation found he had been misidentified at the time of his arrest and that key facts had been overlooked.
Both victims believed he should be released.
He cried when a judge cleared the way for his release saying he was “overwhelmed.”
“I never lost hope and always knew this day would come,” he said.
Under Florida law, people who are exonerated of a crime are entitled to A$75,000 for every year of wrongful imprisonment which should have guaranteed Mr. Holmes a A$2.5 million payout.
But he may not get one cent for his ordeal.
“It has very stringent eligibility criteria. Right now, Mr. Holmes wouldn’t qualify under the law because he has a prior criminal record,” the Innocence Project of Florida’s Seth Miller explained.
A bill before the state legislature is hoping to change that.
“It would make it so that someone who has a previous record, but is convicted and served time for an unrelated crime and is subsequently wrongfully convicted, is not prevented for getting compensation on the time they spent in prison for that wrongful conviction,” Mr. Miller said.
It’s unclear whether Mr. Holmes will be entitled to a retroactive payout if it is passed.
In the meantime, he is planning to open a food truck business.