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I feel so sorry for this guy. He spent 22 years in prison for a rape he did not commit. IMO, you can't put a pricetag on all that lost time, not to mention his suffering. $200,000 is not NEARLY enough. He's seeking $6 million. I think he deserves every penny.
A pittance or a capital gain?

Lawmakers try to put value on false conviction

Grateful for help. Wilton Dedge gets a hug from his mother, Mary, at their home in Port St. John in December. Dedge's father, Gary, is seen in the background.

Compensation for wrongly convicted
The state House and Senate differ widely on appropriate compensation for those wrongly convicted.
Awards capped at $200,000.
Optional college tuition and health care benefits.
Averages about $9,000 per year for the 22 years Wilton Dedge was in prison.
Awards capped at $5 million.
Education and health care provided by the state during prison term is deducted.
Close to Dedge's claim against the state for $6 million.

A man who spent 22 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit may be closer to getting compensated for his lost time.

This week, the House and Senate are reviewing two bills that would give Wilton Dedge anywhere from $200,000 to $5 million for serving time for the 1981 rape of a Brevard teenager. DNA evidence exonerated Dedge in August. Since then, Dedge has worked pouring concrete, mowing lawns and doing minor home repairs while he waits for the state to compensate him for wrongful imprisonment.

A wide gulf exists between House and Senate bills to compensate those wrongfully convicted.

The House bill caps any award at $200,000, with the option of free college tuition and health care benefits. But Sen. Dan Webster, R-Winter Garden, on Tuesday sold the Senate Governmental Oversight Committee on his bill, which allows those confirmed by a judge to be "wrongfully incarcerated" to bill the state for their damages. In Dedge's case, that would be about $5 million.

Dedge is seeking nearly $6 million.

"It really wouldn't cover what I went through," he said Tuesday afternoon. "I'd never be satisfied, content maybe to just put it behind me. I feel like I'm still doing time, like my life is on hold."

Webster said he modeled his bill after Florida laws for condemnation of land or seizure of a business.

Dedge would get $500,000 immediately and the remainder paid monthly over 10 years. But the payments would stop if he were to be convicted of a felony.

"It's a lot better than what the House put out there," Dedge said. "But how do you put a price on a man's life?"

Dedge hopes to use some of the compensation money to repay his family. The Dedges spent a lot of money on Wilton's defense, taking out a second mortgage on their home.

"We're working on digging out of that hole," said Mary Dedge, Wilton Dedge's mother.

The law does not apply to individuals who, despite their innocence, might have confessed. It also does not apply to people convicted of other felonies.

It requires the exonerated to negotiate their payment with the Florida attorney general's office.

It allows the state to deduct the cost of health care and education given the inmate, though Webster said he thinks the amount would be trivial.

The bill does not allow punitive damages or compensation for pain and suffering. Even without that, Webster said he believes Dedge could collect close to the proposed cap once the state calculates his lost wages, lost earning potential, legal bills and the two decades spent by his parents trying to secure their son's release.

Consensus on a final version of the bill that could be made law has not yet been reached.