Rep. Amore introduces bill providing compensation for wrongfully convicted
STATE HOUSE – Rep. Gregg Amore has introduced legislation (2016-H 7749) that would allow those who have been wrongfully convicted of a crime, and have been imprisoned for more than a year, to petition the Superior Court for an award of compensation and damages, including their attorney fees. This law would not affect wrongful convictions that were the result of misfeasance or malfeasance by the state.
“It is a sad reality in our state and across the country that innocent people are sent to prison for crimes they did not commit. Because our criminal justice system is not infallible and because there have been significant advances in forensic science, there is a need for this legislation. I think that it is more than fair that the victims of wrongful incarceration be compensated for their unjust imprisonment and that Rhode Island join the thirty other states that already provide compensation for this injustice,” said Representative Amore (D-Dist. 65, East Providence).
The legislation provides several criteria that must be met in order for compensation to be granted, including, the claimant for compensation was imprisoned solely for the crimes they were mistakenly convicted of and was not serving another sentence concurrently or as a result of an enhancement from a previous conviction.
The award of compensation would be calculated at the state’s median single person income at the time of release and paid for each year served in prison. The award may also be expanded to at the discretion of the court in the interest of justice. The monetary award will be provided by the General Treasurer from the state’s general fund. The law would also not hinder any civil attempts to secure damages for convictions based on malfeasance on the part of the state.
The legislation is currently before the House Committee on Judiciary.
For more information, contact:
Andrew Caruolo, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903