By David Herbst on May 9, 2020


The COVID-19 pandemic has brought on fear, isolation and uncertainty for too many Montanans. Folks have been separated from family and are unable to comfort sick loved ones. For many of us, normal life is on hold and it’s unclear how or when we will get to the other side.

This experience is all too familiar to the wrongfully convicted who lose years, and sometimes decades behind bars for crimes they didn’t commit. Richard Raugust had spent 18 years in prison for the murder of his best friend in Trout Creek until new evidence pointing to a different killer led to his exoneration in 2016.

People like Raugust are among a handful of Montanans who won the uphill battle for exoneration. While Montana is among the 35 states in the country with a wrongful conviction compensation law, it is the only one that provides no money to exonerees — only tuition assistance.


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