“A Freed Man, an Ex-Wife and a Lawsuit”

Here, from the New York Times, is a distressing and fascinating story about a lawsuit.

Since I once worked on DNA post-exoneration cases, I started to read this article thinking it was about Steven Phillips, a man wrongfully convicted and imprisoned for more than two decades (in Texas, which gives me nightmares) who, once exonerated, filed a civil rights suit against the state.

It is about that, but the lawsuit was filed by his ex-wife against Phillips. After he settled the case, his ex-wife Traci, who had stuck by him and defended him during his trial, felt that she deserved some of that settlement money. And it’s why she sued.

“He was a victim of a wrongful justice system, and his family was also,” Ms. Tucker said.

Mr. Phillips is appealing the decision, and both sides expect the case to make its way to the Texas Supreme Court, the state’s highest civil court, for a decision on whether former spouses of those exonerated are entitled to compensation. It is a question that one legislator who helped write the compensation law said lawmakers had not considered.

“This is an example of the law of unintended consequences,” said State Representative Rafael Anchia, Democrat of Dallas. “We did not think about entitlement by spouses who had become divorced from these innocent men while they were in prison.”

Here’s a case that challenges anyone’s ideas about justice and fairness.

See what you think: A Freed Man, an Ex-Wife and a Lawsuit – NYTimes.com.

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