July 10, 2006
Questioning How to Compensate Exonerees
From newsday.com: As James Calvin Tillman of Connecticut awaits official exoneration from a rape conviction for which he has served 18 years of his life, Connecticut Officials will face the question of how to compensate someone who was wrongly labeled a rapist and imprisoned for much of his adult life.
It's a dilemma unfolding nationwide as states consider ways to help exonerated defendants.
They do not fit neatly into the category of "crime victims," a group defined and compensated in Connecticut state law. And experts say winning a court case could be difficult without proving misconduct by police or prosecutors, bad representation by defense attorneys, sloppy science or intentional misrepresentation of the facts.
The policies vary greatly nationwide. Some states have laws that provide set dollar amounts for every day or year of incarceration. Others also add free college tuition, counseling and other services. But Connecticut has no set procedures. The General Assembly can grant people permission to sue for wrongful conviction or, as some states have done, pass a special act to pay an exonerated person directly. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]
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