Kansas governor signs bill to compensate wrongfully convicted

Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer has signed a bill that will compensate people who are wrongfully convicted of a crime in Kansas.

His signature on House Bill 2579 made Kansas the 33rd state to enact a wrongful conviction compensation statute. It was described by advocates as the “gold standard” for the nation. Individuals found by a court to meet the definition of wrongfully convicted would receive $65,000 for each year held on that conviction and $25,000 for each year wrongfully served on parole, probation or on a sex offender registry. The payments are not subject to state or federal taxation. 

Exonerees in Kansas would receive cash, the social services and a “certificate of innocence and expungement” designed to formally clear their names. In the event of a civil award or settlement from a lawsuit brought by an exoneree, compensation from the state would be deducted or repaid.

Kansas legislators worked with the Midwest Innocence Project on the bill’s language. A representative from the Innocence Project hopes the Kansas law can be a model for other states.

“We hope that neighboring states we work in — Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa and Arkansas — will take notice and follow Kansas’ lead,” said Tricia Bushnell, executive director of the Midwest Innocence Project.

Read more about the Kansas law here.

Published by nufearless

Nebraskans Unafraid is committed to making our communities safer by ensuring that lawmakers and policymakers do not support laws that cause homelessness, joblessness and damage to families.

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