Man wrongly convicted of rape, murder expected to get $1.2 million settlement from Colorado

Robert Dewey's case inspired compensation law

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - A Mesa County man who inspired a new law compensating the wrongly convicted is nearing a monetary settlement with the state.

The Daily Sentinel reports that Colorado seeks to pay Robert Dewey about $1.2 million. The 52-year-old was convicted of a 1994 rape and murder but was cleared by DNA evidence 17 years later. After his release, Dewey was living in poverty.

Dewey's case inspired a new law granting exonerated former prisoners or their survivors up to $70,000 for every year wrongly spent behind bars for a felony conviction. Former convicts have to be provably innocent, not cleared on legal technicalities or appeals.

A hearing on Dewey's petition is scheduled later this month.