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Grand Rapids – A court says a Kent County man who spent nearly nine years in prison before winning an acquittal in a sexual assault case doesn’t qualify for compensation for the wrongly convicted.

The Michigan appeals court says Dennis Tomasik got a second trial only because the state Supreme Court said a police recording was improperly admitted at the first trial. The court says it’s not the same as having a conviction reversed based on new evidence.

Tomasik was acquitted at a second trial after jurors listened to new witnesses and saw many new exhibits. He says that should qualify him for Michigan’s compensation program, which grants $50,000 for every year spent in prison.

The 3-0 opinion Thursday was written by Judge Brock Swartzle. It sets a key precedent for how the Court of Claims will review claims for compensation by people who say they were wrongly convicted.

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