On April 15, Charles Palmer won his petition for a certificate of innocence from the state's highest court. Palmer, a Decatur man, had been wrongfully convicted of murder for a 1998 Macon County homicide. "This has been a long time coming and I've been fighting for so long," Palmer told Illinois Times via email. "A lot of people saw my murder charge and didn't understand that I was exonerated." Palmer said people judged him harshly, even though he was exonerated more than five years ago. "I am really thrilled to be able to put this behind me," he said. In awarding Palmer's certificate, the Illinois Supreme Court overturned previous decisions made by lower courts which denied him a certificate of innocence. With the decision, the court ruled that state law regarding certificates of innocence only requires exonerees to prove their innocence for offenses for which they were initially charged. Palmer was released from prison in 2016, after the Illinois Innocence Project, based at University of Illinois Springfield, provided new DNA evidence. In order to receive compensation from the state, an exoneree must earn a certificate of innocence. According to Capitol News Illinois, after almost two decades of being wrongfully incarcerated, Palmer is set to be awarded nearly $200,000 in state restitution. A bill before the Illinois legislature would ensure those who receive a certificate get $50,000 per year they were wrongfully incarcerated.

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