Michigan lawmakers consider compensation law


Nationwide, 22 states have laws providing some form of compensation for wrongfully convicted people after their release. In considering a bill that would make Michigan the 23rd state with a compensation statute, lawmakers in Lansing heard testimony yesterday from representatives of the

Innocence Project at Cooley Law School

and two people who served time in prison for crimes they didn’t commit. The proposed bill would provide exonerees with $50,000 for each year they spent behind bars, plus lost wages, legal fees and medical care.

Although 22 states have laws, they vary greatly in the level of compensation. With this law, Michigan would join just three other states – Texas, Vermont and Alabama – in meeting or exceeding the federal standard of up to $50,000 per year of incarceration.

Rep. Steve Bieda, D-Warren, sponsor of the proposed compensation law, said the cost to taxpayers would be relatively small because there would be very few ex-inmates eligible. But the small cost needs to be balanced against the “immeasurably huge injustice” a wrongly convicted inmate has suffered, Bieda said.

Read the full story here

. (Detroit Free Press, 10/23/07)

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