Monday, April 15, 2013

Justice at last for those wrongfully convicted

The third time was the charm for Rep. Tina Orwall’s measure to compensate the wrongfully convicted in our state now that the Senate passed HB 1341 unanimously this evening. 

It’s been a long and winding road for this legislation. When Orwall first introduced it in 2011, it didn’t even get a hearing. The 2012 attempt was passed out of Judiciary, but was not scheduled for a hearing in Ways and Means. This time around, however, after numerous hurdles and some tweaking in the Senate, it’ll be on its way to Gov. Inslee’s desk as soon as the House agrees to the changes, which modified the bill to allow structured settlement awards and establishes that claimants must waive any other compensation under state or federal law. 

Orwall’s measure will provide a wrongfully convicted person with:

  • $50,000 for each year behind bars
  • Additional $50,000 for each year on death row
  • $25,000 for each year on parole, community custody or as a registered sex offender
  • Compensation for child support
  • Reimbursement for restitution, assessments fees and court costs associated with the wrongful conviction
  • Attorneys’ fees up to $75,000
  • Higher education tuition waivers
  • Access to reentry services
 Read this story in Spanish.