A bill is making its way through the Colorado legislature that would provide compensation for individuals that have been wrongfully convicted of crimes. This proposal would allow those deemed to have been wrongfully convicted to collect up to $60,000 annually for each year that they were in prison.
This legislation is receiving support from Representative Dan Pabon out of Denver. Pabon said the legislation was inspired by the case of an individual accused of murdering a Colorado woman, and then spending 18 years in prison. DNA evidence seemed to point out that the wrong man was convicted in that matter.
The above instance of a wrongful conviction is not an isolated incident in Colorado. In 2008, a man was sentenced to ten years in prison for allegedly killing a Fort Collins woman. This same man later was awarded a $10 million settlement concerning his wrongful conviction.
That such legislation is felt necessary demonstrates that Colorado prosecutors, law enforcement officers and even courts get convictions wrong. Yet it’s difficult to know how one can be compensated for serving more than a decade in prison. A wrongful conviction is a life altering event.
For individuals facing criminal prosecutions, they need the best criminal defense that attorneys can offer. Not every attorney in Colorado thoroughly understands how the criminal courts operate, what the sentencing guidelines suggest, or what kind of evidence is or is not allowed in the criminal courts.
Hopefully, such legislation is passed because our criminal court’s system is not foolproof.
Source: KRQE, “Colo. bill would pay those wrongfully convicted,” Feb. 11, 2013
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