The Michigan House of Representatives has approved state Rep. Julie Calley’s plan to ensure people who were wrongfully convicted of a crime have adequate time to file for monetary damages they may qualify for.
Calley, of Portland, said Michigan passed a law in 2016 to compensate people for the years in which they were wrongfully imprisoned. It was intended to give anyone who had been wrongfully imprisoned 18 months to file a claim. However, the Court of Claims found another section of state law which limited the filing deadline to six months. This left anyone who had not filed a claim within the six-month window unable to gain access to compensation.
“There’s no question that people who were wrongfully convicted and imprisoned in Michigan deserve fair compensation to help them get back on their feet,” Calley said. “Sadly, conflicting timelines in current law are preventing some people from getting the redress they deserve.”
According to the Michigan Attorney General’s Office, at least 11 exonerated people have had Wrongful Imprisonment Act claims dismissed based on the conflicting timelines.
The bipartisan legislation Calley introduced alongside Rep. Kyra Bolden, of Southfield, would give people who were exonerated of a crime before March 29, 2017 – when the Wrongful Imprisonment Act went into effect – an additional 18 months to file a claim.
“People who served time in prison for a crime they didn’t commit shouldn’t be denied compensation based on a technicality,” Calley said. “We’re clarifying the timeline and providing an opportunity for the clock of justice to be restarted.”
House Bills 5117-18 now advance to the Senate for consideration.