FRIENDSHIP, WI (WTAQ) - A defense lawyer says state officials and insurance companies should reconsider letting insurers take charge of prosecutions against their policyholders.
That's after Joseph Awe of Friendship, who spent 3 years in prison for an arson he didn't commit, was given an undisclosed amount of compensation by his insurer.
The 44-year-old Awe was convicted of burning down J.J.'s Pub in Marquette County in 2006. He co-owned the bar with his wife.
Prosecutors relied heavily on experts hired by Awe's insurer, Mt. Morris -- and they argued that Awe hired somebody to burn down the tavern so he could collect the insurance money. They ruled out a possible electrical problem as the cause of the blaze.
A circuit judge later found that investigators had used a discredited method in ruling that the blaze was an arson -- and Awe was freed from the Oregon Correctional Institution last year.
Defense lawyer Eric Haag tells the State Journal that insurance companies should help their clients and not hurt them.
A lawyer for Mt. Morris has not commented.
(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)