Bill Could Set Scale For Wrongful Conviction Compensation

A new wrongful conviction bill would create a pay scale of sorts in Washington for people whose convictions are later overturned by new evidence.

Under the bill, sponsored by Rep. Tina Orwall (D-33), a year spent in prison for a crime a person didn’t commit would be worth about $50,000, plus an extra $50,000 for time spent on death row or $25,000 for each year spent under community supervision or as a registered sex offender.

The county that prosecuted and convicted the person would pay the compensation under the bill, which says only people who are “actually innocent” (as opposed, for example, for those who are “not guilty” due to lack of evidence) would be eligible to file a claim.

According to the Innocence Project, 280 cases in the US have been overturned based on DNA evidence, including three cases in Washington State.