Bolden Bill Increases Access to Justice for Wrongfully Convicted
LANSING — State Reps. Kyra Bolden (D-Southfield) and Julie Calley (R-Portland) introduced House Bills 5117 and 5118 on Wednesday, Oct. 16 to resolve conflicting timelines between the Michigan Court of Claims Act and the Wrongful Imprisonment Compensation Act (WICA) for filing wrongful imprisonment claims.
“My colleagues and I believe that after a wrongful conviction, those who are exonerated have a right to be compensated for the harm done to them,” said Bolden. “I’m proud there was bipartisan agreement on the need to fix a simple error that has a major impact. Our legislation will secure the right for all Michiganders to receive equal access to the redress they deserve.”
Currently, the Michigan Court of Claims requires filing claims within 6 months, while the WICA established those exonerated prior to its enactment have 18 months to file. Newly exonerated individuals must file their claims within 3 years. House Bill 5117 would amend the Michigan Court of Claims Act by exempting claims for compensation under WICA. As a result, WICA claims will no longer be subject to the 6-month statute of limitations. House Bill 5118 would extend the time for claims by individuals who were released before the effective date. As a result, individuals convicted, imprisoned and released before March 29, 2017 would then have 18 months to file a claim.
Both bills were referred to the House Judiciary Committee and are expected to hear testimony on Tuesday, Oct. 22.