Florida judge says exonerated prisoner can't sue state for compensation

A man wrongly imprisoned for 22 years for a rape he did not commit cannot sue the state for compensation, a judge has ruled.

In the ruling dismissing Wilton Dedge's lawsuit, Circuit Judge William Gary of Leon County, Florida, said the state is protected from such lawsuits.

"While everyone is in agreement that what happened to Wilton Dedge is tragic, only the Legislature can address the issue of compensation under existing law," the judge wrote.

Dedge, who with his parents sued the state and the Florida Department of Corrections in May, said he was disappointed about the ruling, issued Monday.

"The Legislature told us to go to the courts, and now the court is telling us to go to the Legislature," he said. "It's like a pingpong ball."

The lawsuit did not ask for a specific dollar amount.

Dedge, 43, was released from his life sentence in August 2004 after advanced DNA testing proved he did not commit the crime in 1981.

Lawmakers swore they would make restitution to him, but nothing had been done by the time the legislative session ended in May.

The Department of Corrections had no comment Wednesday, AP reported.

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