The Florida attorney general’s office announced Saturday that it would reverse an earlier decision to deny reparations to a Jacksonville man who served nearly 43 years in prison over a murder he did not commit.
Nathan Myers, now 62, will be given $2 million from the state, the maximum allowed under Florida’s Victims of Wrongful Incarceration Act. He had been arrested as a teenager in 1976.
Myers was originally granted a petition for the reparations last summer. That petition was then denied by the Office of Attorney General, who vetoed it for not having “clear and convincing evidence” of his innocence. The attorney general’s office went back on that decision Saturday, however, saying in a letter that it was wrong — and that it had no authority to strike down a court’s decision.
“The DLA (Department of Legal Affairs) cannot second-guess decisions made by courts,” general counsel Richard H. Martin wrote. ”The DLA will inform the Chief Financial Officer that the application meets the requirements of the statute and is complete.”
Myers has been free for a year now and lives with his wife in Orlando, according to the Florida Times-Union.
“I can’t stay down. I can’t sit down now,” Myers told the TV station First Coast News. “I feel so good right now, as good as I feel since the day I got out.”
Still, though, with decades of his life lost to the prison system and his reparations being on hold, Myers says he will not believe the $2 million compensation is real until he can feel it in his hands himself.
“Once that money lands in my bank, that’ll be the time to celebrate, because that’s how I know it’s real," he told the Times-Union.