Governor Brown recently approved compensation to Northern California Innocence Project clients Franky Carrillo Jr. and Johnny Williams for their decades of wrongful imprisonment. This came after approval by the Legislature and the California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board’s recommendation to grant the compensation earlier this year. Carrillo Jr. and Williams will each receive $100 per day of wrongful imprisonment.

The approvals for compensation came with the help of recent legislation, Senate Bill No. 618 (SB 618), which was authored by Senator Mark Leno and co-sponsored by NCIP to improve the process for exonerees to receive compensation for wrongful imprisonment. Governor Brown signed SB 618 into law on October 13, 2013. Prior to SB 618, exonerees often waited years and faced enormous administrative hurdles to complete the compensation process — with no guarantee of eventually receiving compensation, even when a court had found them innocent.

“We are extremely thankful that Franky and Johnny will receive their much deserved compensation after spending so many years in prison for crimes they did not commit,” said NCIP Executive Director David Onek. “The enactment of SB 618 was a crucial reform to help wrongfully convicted people like Franky and Johnny get their lives back on track. We thank Senator Leno for introducing this common sense reform and for his ongoing support on behalf of the wrongfully convicted.”

Franky and Legal Team

In attendance at the state compensation hearings in Sacramento on May 15, 2014. From left: Franky Carrillo Jr., Attorney Ellen Eggers, Exoneree Maurice Caldwell, and NCIP Attorneys Melissa O’Connell, Linda Starr and Paige Kaneb.


At age 17, Franky Carrillo Jr. was wrongfully convicted of a 1991 murder based on the false eyewitness identification testimonies of six people. All six individuals eventually admitted that they were unable to see the shooter, and were influenced to make identifications under the pressure of police and each other. Additionally, two other men confessed to the shooting and confirmed that Carrillo Jr. was not involved. In March 2011, the Los Angeles County Superior Court reversed Franky Carrillo Jr.’s conviction for murder, and ordered his release after two decades behind bars.

In June 2000, Johnny Williams was wrongfully convicted of two counts of forcible lewd conduct against a child and one count of attempted rape. Williams, a former neighbor and familiar with the family of the victim, was convicted of the 1998 crime despite there being no biological or physical evidence. In 2012, NCIP’s DNA Project re-tested the victim’s t-shirt and found enough biological material to yield a complete male DNA profile that conclusively excluded Williams as the perpetrator. Williams was exonerated on March 11, 2013 after serving more than 14 years of wrongful imprisonment.

Read more about Franky Carrillo Jr.’s case here.

Watch a video about Johnny Williams’ case here.