A state judge has ruled a Metairie man — who spent 17 years in prison for an attempted rape he did not commit — is entitled to up to $330,000 in compensation.

Forty-year-old Nathan Brown was released from prison in June after DNA tests proved his innocence.

Innocence Project attorney Kristin Wenstrom says Brown is not immediately eligible for the entire sum.

"The way the statute is written is $25,000 (is dispersed) per year of wrongful incarceration, but it is capped at $250,000," Wenstrom said. "So he isn't getting compensated for every year he was in prison."

Brown is entitled to petition the court for an additional $80,000 for loss of life opportunities. Wenstrom says that any additional money can be used for medical expenses, education and job training.

Wenstrom says this money doesn't make up for 17 years of wrongful incarceration, but it will help Brown restart his life.

"He left prison with, literally, the clothes on his back and that's it," Wenstrom said. "So imagine being a grown man walking out and you're starting with nothing. You have nothing. You have no foundation, whatsoever."

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