Government and Law

Bills advance to ensure exonerees can sue for compensation

February 11, 2020
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LANSING — Michigan lawmakers advanced bills Tuesday to ensure that wrongfully convicted prisoners can sue for compensation after some exonerees' cases were dismissed due to a conflict over how long they had to file a claim.

A 2016 law awards innocent inmates $50,000 for each year spent in a state prison. It gave those who had been exonerated before the act’s effective date 18 months to sue or file notice of their intent to sue.

Several former prisoners, however, saw their claims tossed after the state Court of Claims — where such lawsuits must be brought — ruled that a separate law with a six-month window took precedence over the 18-month cutoff.

The bipartisan bills would fix the situation so those inmates could seek compensation.

They were passed unanimously by the Republican-led Senate. The House, which approved similar versions of the legislation weeks ago, could soon send the legislation to Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

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