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Senate panel OKs compensation for the wrongfully convicted

A measure advancing in the Indiana Senate would compensate residents found to have been wrongfully convicted and imprisoned.

Posted: Mar 21, 2019 3:23 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A measure advancing in the Indiana Senate would compensate residents found to have been wrongfully convicted and imprisoned.

The Senate Corrections and Criminal Law Committee made minor revisions to the House-approved legislation Tuesday before voting 7-0 in favor of it. The measure now heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee for further analysis of its financial impact on the state.

Indiana is one of 17 states that provide no compensation for people exonerated of crimes.

The legislation would generally permit people exonerated after being convicted of a crime to receive $50,000 for each year they were wrongfully imprisoned.

To receive the money from the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute, they would have to dismiss any existing civil lawsuit or agree not to sue the state, a local government or any public official or employee.

State records show that at least 34 people who spent years, and sometimes decades, locked up for crimes they didn't commit may be eligible for up to $18.4 million in payments if the measure becomes law.

That pool is expected to shrink in future years as DNA is increasingly used upfront to avoid false imprisonment.

The revisions the Corrections and Criminal Law Committee approved Tuesday to the measure include clarifying that an exoneree with a pending lawsuit is not required to drop it until his or her claim for the $50,000 per year payment is approved.

The panel also sharpened the definition of innocence and made changes to permit innocent county jail inmates to also seek restitution.

The timetable for seeking state payment was also changed to give past exonerees until Nov. 1, 2021, to file a claim.

Future exonerees would have two years following a vacated conviction or a governor's pardon to request payment.

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CountyCasesDeaths
Marion904161633
Lake48298874
Allen35720633
Hamilton31970396
St. Joseph29796510
Elkhart25331412
Vanderburgh21192377
Tippecanoe19927199
Johnson16312356
Porter15917269
Hendricks15785300
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Madison11717315
Vigo11562229
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Delaware9824179
LaPorte9739196
Howard9038195
Kosciusko8539108
Bartholomew7424147
Hancock7399130
Warrick7399150
Floyd7180167
Wayne6622191
Grant6413157
Boone606888
Morgan6066124
Dubois5890111
Dearborn544466
Cass542899
Marshall5414104
Henry541392
Noble508476
Jackson464165
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Lawrence4174111
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Clinton394453
Montgomery385083
DeKalb384378
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Steuben337455
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White297152
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Daviess285096
Fayette271156
Decatur270188
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Posey260431
Wells257174
Scott250050
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Clay240344
Randolph225376
Spencer216930
Jennings214344
Washington209927
Sullivan202939
Fountain201042
Starke187250
Owen181953
Fulton177937
Jay177528
Carroll176218
Perry173335
Orange170950
Rush164322
Vermillion160141
Franklin159135
Tipton145941
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Pike127432
Blackford120527
Pulaski106544
Newton96531
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Crawford90313
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Switzerland7527
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Ohio52911
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