The “Actual Innocence” Bill: Contact Your Wyoming State Senator to Fight for the Rights of the Wrongly Convicted
The chance to prove innocence should have no time limit; it’s impossible to know when new evidence of innocence may emerge in a case. But Wyoming’s current law sets a strict two-year time limit from final judgement in a case for a person to introduce new evidence of innocence. House Bill 144, the “actual innocence” bill is a long overdue fix in a crucial part of the criminal justice system: the ability of citizens to file a motion for new trials based on new evidence of innocence, no matter how much time has passed since their convictions.
Let’s look at the case of Kristine Bunch. In 1996, she was a young woman wrongly convicted in Indiana of setting a fire that killed her 3-year-old son. The conviction was largely based on what was believed, at the time, to be solid evidence of arson. In the years that followed, however, more scientifically reliable methods of fire science and analysis emerged.
Fortunately, Indiana’s post-conviction laws don’t set time limits on when new evidence can be presented in a case. In Kristie’s case, lawyers entered new science to reveal that the fire that killed her son was accidental. Based on this new evidence, she was exonerated in 2012 after spending 17 years in prison. Had this case occurred in Wyoming, Kristine would probably still be in prison.
Of course, Kristine’s case is far from unique. If you believe that it’s time for Wyoming to pass the “actual innocence” bill House Bill 144 here’s what you can do:
Of course, Kristine’s case is far from unique. If you believe that it’s time for Wyoming to pass the “actual innocence” House Bill 144 here’s what you can do:
- Call these Senators and ask them to support House Bill 144
- Email Senators and ask them to support House Bill 144
- Post and share on social media
If you don’t know who your senator is, don’t worry. Search here.
(Photo of Kristine Bunch by Narayan Mahon)