News 12.31.13

Wrongfully Convicted to Receive Increased Compensation in New Jersey

Last Friday, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed into law a bill that will increase the amount of compensation that wrongfully convicted people can receive from the state for each year they were wrongfully imprisoned. Under the new law, exonerated individuals in New Jersey will be eligible to receive statutory damages in the amount of $50,000 for each year they were in prison. Previously, they received either a max of $20,000 or twice that of their annual pre-conviction income for each year served.  

Christie conditionally vetoed the bill earlier this year because he objected to certain provisions, including one that tied the amount of the award to the Consumer Price index, which tracks inflation. He also struck down a provision that would have made it possible for inmates who falsely confessed to crimes they did not commit to also be eligible for state compensation.   According to the

Star Ledger

, Christie said in his conditional veto message, “A person’s own decision to enter a false plea, under oath or in court, could lead to the payment for the imprisonment that flowed from the defendant’s own misstatement. … In that particular situation, providing payment for ‘wrongful imprisonment’ is not justified.”

New Jersey is one of 29 states, and the District of Columbia, that provides compensation to residents who have been wrongfully convicted. The

Philadelphia Inquirer

reports that New Jersey settled 20 wrongful-imprisonment cases between October 2007 and September 2012 for a total of $2.2 million. 

Prior to this bill being signed into law, the state’s compensation levels were last updated 16 years ago.
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  1. James McClary says:

    How and where do l apply for compensation for a wrongful conviction?

  2. Michael Robinson says:

    How do I claim compensation for being exonerated after two years of detention?

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