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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: August 25, 2022 09:16 AM
From: Representative Francis X. Ryan and Rep. Regina G. Young
To: All House members
Subject: Wrongful Conviction Compensation
In the near future, we will be introducing legislation to implement a streamlined process for individuals to seek compensation when they have been incarcerated as a result of a wrongful conviction.

Our legislation allows an individual to recover damages for time spent incarcerated and on parole as a result of a wrongful conviction. An individual seeking this relief must show by a preponderance of the evidence that they:
  1. Were convicted of a felony.
  2. Were sentenced to incarceration based on the conviction and they have served all or any part of the sentence.
  3. Did not commit the crime that resulted in the conviction or there was no crime committed.
  4. Received either a pardon, that the charges were dismissed following reversal, or that they were acquitted upon retrial after the conviction was reversed or overturned.
  5. Were not convicted of any lesser included offense arising from the same transaction as the crime for which they were originally convicted.
If an individual prevails on a petition, they will be awarded damages based on the number of years they spent incarcerated and on parole as a result of the wrongful conviction. In addition to monetary compensation, these damages can include child support an individual may have incurred while they were incarcerated, reasonable attorney fees, and compensation for any reasonable reintegrative services and mental and physical health care costs they incurred. Importantly, this legislation also provides various services, resources and assistance for individuals who are wrongfully convicted regardless if they are seeking compensation.

When an individual is wrongfully convicted and incarcerated the consequences are devastating not only to them but their families and friends. Individuals are not only deprived of their liberty, but they miss holidays, birthdays, and other important life events. They undoubtedly will suffer negative economic and professional consequences as well. Currently, over 30 states provide some type of payment or compensation to exonerated individuals. Pennsylvania should follow suit to ensure that exonerated individuals are appropriately compensated for the liberty they have been denied and given the necessary resources and services to succeed after being released from their wrongful incarceration.

Please join us in co-sponsoring in this important legislation.

Introduced as HB2794