US

Advocate: Fees, loans threaten pardoned brothers' livelihood

A court-appointed advocate says lawyer fees and high-interest loans are threatening the financial futures of two North Carolina brothers who have collected hundreds of thousands of dollars for their three decades of wrongful imprisonment.

The advocate argued in a legal motion Wednesday that Henry McCollum and Leon Brown were steered into dubious financial arrangements by lawyers who stand to profit from the men's lawsuit against the investigators who put them behind bars. The half-brothers were released from prison in 2014 because of DNA evidence and later pardoned in the 1983 killing of an 11-year-old girl.

Raymond Tarlton, the court-appointed advocate for McCollum, asked a federal judge to rule that McCollum wasn't competent enough to sign the representation agreement with the men's current lawyers.

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