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Restitution bill aimed for special session

Sen. Ken Stolle hopes the General Assembly next month will consider approving restitution for a man wrongly imprisoned for 22 years.

Arthur Whitfield, released from prison almost five years ago, has since struggled with health issues, employment and finances. According to The Virginian-Pilot, Stolle drafted a bill that he hopes will go before the Assembly during a special session that begins Aug. 19. It calls for Whitfield to receive $445,703 in compensation for the two decades he spent behind bars.

Getting the bill before legislators will be a challenge, Stolle acknowledged, since Gov. Timothy M. Kaine called the special session only so legislators can amend state law dealing with how government forensic scientists are called to testify in criminal trials.

Some worry that making an exception for one bill could open the floodgates for other legislation and distract lawmakers from the issue at hand.

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