House OKs compensation for wrongful convictions

first_imgOLYMPIA — The state House approved a measure Friday that would allow people who were wrongfully convicted to seek compensation from the state for the years they lost behind bars.The measure passed on a 95-2 vote Friday night and heads to the Senate. If it passes, Washington would join 27 states, the District of Columbia and the federal government with similar laws.The measure would allow people who were wrongfully convicted to file a claim in superior court for damages against the state. The claimant must show their conviction was reversed or vacated based on significant evidence of innocence, and that they did not commit the crime they were charged with. Once a judge or jury determines the claim is valid, they can award damages.Currently, the only option someone has is to sue the state, but they are required to sue on some basis other than the fact that they were wrongfully convicted, such as intentional wrongdoing or prosecutorial misconduct.Under the bill, compensation would be similar to the amounts paid by the federal government — a wrongly convicted person would receive $50,000 for each year of imprisonment, including time spent awaiting trial. An additional $50,000 would be awarded for each year on death row. A person would receive $25,000 for each year on parole, community custody, or as a registered sex offender.last_img read more