Creates an action authorizing any person who has been sentenced to imprisonment greater than one year subsequent to being wrongfully convicted of a criminal offense to petition court for an award of compensation and damages, including attorneyâs fees.
2021-02-10: Introduced, referred to House Judiciary
2021-03-05: Scheduled for hearing and/or consideration (03/09/2021)
2021-03-09: Committee recommended measure be held for further study
2021-03-12: Scheduled for consideration (03/17/2021)
2021-03-17: Committee recommends passage of Sub A
2021-03-26: Placed on House Calendar (03/30/2021)
2021-03-30: House passed Sub A
2021-04-08: Referred to Senate Judiciary
2021-06-25: Scheduled for consideration (06/28/2021)
2021-06-26: Proposed Substitute
2021-06-28: Committee recommends passage of Sub B
2021-06-28: Placed on Senate Calendar (06/30/2021)
2021-06-30: Senate passed Sub B
2021-06-30: Placed on House Calendar (07/01/2021)
2021-07-01: House passed Sub B in concurrence
2021-07-06: Transmitted to Governor
2021-07-08: Signed by Governor
Changes since original draft
2021 – H 5470
S TATE OF RHODE IS LAND
IN GENERAL ASSEMBLY
JANUARY SESSION, A.D. 2021
A N A C T
RELATING TO CRIMINAL PROCEDURE
Introduced By: Representatives Serpa,Amore,Ackerman, Nardone,McEntee,and Place
Date Introduced: February 10, 2021
Referred To: House Judiciary
It is enacted by the GeneralAssembly as follows:
SECTION 1. Title 12 of the GeneralLaws entitled "CRIMINALPROCEDURE"is hereby amended by adding thereto the following chapter:
CLAIMS FOR WRONGFUL CONVICTION AND IMPRISONMENT
12-33-1. Legislative intent.
(a) The generalassembly finds thatinnocent persons who have been wrongfully convicted of crimes through no fault of their own have been uniquely victimized, and are deserving of consideration and remuneration for this miscarriage of justice.
(b) For the purposes of this chapter, a "wrongful conviction" is a finding of guilt by a jury or judge, later proven incorrect, which results in incarceration for more than one year.
12-33-2. Statement of claim for compensation.
(a) In order to present an actionable claim pursuant to this chapter, the claimant must establish by documentary evidence that:
(1) Claimant has been convicted of one or more crimes and, as a result of the conviction, was sentenced to a term of imprisonment and has served allor part of said sentence; and
(2) On grounds not inconsistent with innocence:
(i) Claimant was pardoned of the crime or crimes upon which claimant was sentencedand which are the grounds for the complaint;
(ii) The judgment of conviction was vacated;
(iii) The judgment of conviction was reversed;
(iv) The accusatory instrument was dismissed; and
(3) The claim is not time-barred by the provisions of this chapter.
(b)The claims shall be verified by the claimant; and
(c) If the court determines after an examination of the claim that the claimant has not alleged sufficient facts to succeedattrial it shall dismiss the claim, either on its own motion or on the state's motion.
12-33-3. Presentation of claim.
All claims of wrongful conviction and imprisonment under this chapter shall be presented to and heard by the presiding justice of the superior court.
12-33-4. Judgment and award.
(a)Inorder toobtainajudgment intheirfavor,theclaimant mustprove bya preponderance of the evidence that:
(1) Claimant was convicted of one or more crimes, and subsequently sentencedto a term of imprisonment for more than one year, and has served allor any part of the sentence; and
(i)Claimant has beenpardonedfor the crime or crimesuponwhichclaimantwassentenced, and which are the grounds for the complaint; or
(ii) Claimant's judgment of conviction was reversed or vacated and the accusatory instrument was dismissed; and
(2) Claimant did not commit any of the crimes charged in the accusatory instrument; and
(3) Claimant did not commit or suborn perjury, or fabricate evidence to cause or bring about their own conviction.
(4) Neither a confession nor an admission later found to be false or a guilty plea shall constitute committing or suborning perjury, fabricating evidence or causing or bringing about the conviction under this subsection.
(b) If the court finds thatthe claimant was wrongfully convicted and incarceratedpursuant to this section the court shall grant:
(1) An award for wrongfulconviction and incarceration calculated at fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) at the time of release and paid for each year served in a correctional facility. For incarceration of less than a year, this amount shall be prorated to one three hundred fifty-sixth (1/365) of fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) for every day served. The awardmay be expanded to include, at the discretion of the court, in the interest of justice:
(i) Release from any child support payments owed the state by the claimant that became due, andinterest on child support arrearages thataccrued,duringthe time servedin prison but were
LC001471 - Page 2of 5 not paid as well as reasonable attorneys' fees where legal proceedings are required to remedy outstanding obligations resulting from an order to pay child support;
(ii) Access toandeligibility for any services provided by the state for offenders who have been adjudicated by the courts and are residing in the community. Coordination of said services shall be through the department of probation and parole;
(iii) Reasonableattorneys'feesfor bringing aclaimunder this chapter,not toexceedfifteen thousand dollars ($15,000). Any such fees granted shall not be deducted from the compensation due to the claimant, nor is counsel entitled to receive additional fees from the client.
(c) No damages or amounts awarded pursuant to this chapter shallbe subject to:
(1) Any cap or limit that may be applicable to private parties in civil lawsuits;
(2) Any taxes, except for those portions of the judgment awardedas attorneys' fees for bringing a claim under this chapter; or
(3) Treatment as gross income to a claimant under the provisions of title 44.
(d) The claimant shall not receive compensation for any period of incarceration during which the claimant wasconcurrentlyservinga sentencefor aconviction of another crime for which such claimant was lawfully incarcerated.
(e) The acceptance by a claimant of any such award, compromise, or settlement shall:
(1) Be memorialized in writing;
(2) Except when procured by fraud, be finaland conclusive on the claimant.
(f) The court shall, upon determining that the claimant is entitled to compensation under this chapter, forward to the generaltreasurer aninventory and description of the award, including any attorneys' fees awarded, for disbursement.
(g)(1) If at the time of the judgment entry referredto in subsection (b) of this section, the claimant has won a monetary awardon or after the effective date of this statute as the result of a federalcivil rights lawsuit under federalstatute 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the amount of the awardin the action or the amount received in the settlement agreement, less any sums paid to attorneys or for costs litigating the other civil action or obtaining the settlement agreement,shall be deducted from the sum of money to which the claimant is entitled under this section.
(2) If subsection (g)(1) of this section does not apply andif, after the time of the judgment entry referredto in subsection (b) of this section, the claimant wins a monetary awardas the result of a federalcivil rights lawsuit under federalstatute 42U.S.C.§1983, the claimant shall reimburse the state for the sum of money paid under the judgment entry referredto in subsection (b) of this section,less anysums paid toattorneys orfor costsinlitigation of theother civil action or obtaining the settlement agreement. A reimbursement required under this subsection shall not exceedthe
LC001471 - Page 3of 5 amount of the monetaryawardtheclaimant winsfor damagesin the other civil action or the amount received in the settlement agreement.
Any awards,amounts, or fees awardedpursuant to the provisions of this chapter shall, at the direction of the court be provided by the generaltreasurer from the generalfund.
The provisions of this chapter shall not be construed to prohibit a person who has been wrongfully convicted and incarceratedas a resultof the misfeasance or malfeasance on the partof the state or any of its political subdivisions from seeking compensation or relief pursuant to any other action or suit authorized by law.
SECTION 2. This act shalltake effect upon passage.
LC001471 - Page 4of 5
BY THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL
A N A C T
RELATING TO CRIMINAL PROCEDURE
This actwould create anaction atlaw authorizing any personwho has beensentencedtoa termof imprisonment greaterthanone yearsubsequentto being wrongfully convicted of acriminal offense to petition the presiding justice of the superior court for an award of compensation and damages, including attorneys' fees.
This act would take effect upon passage. ======== LC001471 ========
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