Compensating Connecticut’s Wrongfully Convicted
In 2008, Connecticut agreed to provide financial compensation as well as counseling and employment training to the wrongfully convicted, according to the Hartford Courant.
According to the Hartford Courant, 5 claims filed under the 2008 law totaling more than $17 million will determine how the state decides to handle compensation for those exonerated by DNA evidence.
Although Connecticut is one of the few states that do not limit the amount the wrongfully convicted can be awarded, the money isn’t awarded right away.
Rebecca Brown, senior policy advocate for state affairs with the national Innocence Project, said it can take the newly exonerated nearly three years to receive state compensation after filing a claim. So while they are waiting, the former inmates are often left to find food, clothing, a place to live and medical care.
Though the Innocence Project’s model legislation calls for “up to three years of immediate services,” Brown said some states do not include such a provision in their laws.
Brown did note that Connecticut’s law, unlike some others, allows the wrongfully convicted to look beyond the claims commissioner for compensation — something Roman has already chosen to do with his federal lawsuit against the city of Hartford.
According to the statute, the wrongfully convicted are not barred from “pursuing any other action or remedy at law or in equity that such person may have against the state and any political subdivision of the state and any officer, agent, employee or official thereof arising out of such wrongful conviction and incarceration.”
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