HOUSE BILL No. 4536

 

April 29, 2015, Introduced by Reps. Chang, Howrylak, Hoadley, Liberati, Neeley, Moss, Irwin, Robinson, Garrett, Hovey-Wright, Sarah Roberts and Barrett and referred to the Committee on Criminal Justice.

 

     A bill to provide compensation and other relief for

 

individuals wrongfully imprisoned for crimes; to prescribe the

 

powers and duties of certain state governmental officers and

 

agencies; and to provide remedies.

 

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN ENACT:

 

     Sec. 1. This act shall be known and may be cited as the

 

"wrongful imprisonment compensation act".

 

     Sec. 2. As used in this act:

 

     (a) "Charges" means the criminal complaint filed against the

 

plaintiff by a county prosecutor or the attorney general on behalf

 

of the people of this state that resulted in the conviction and

 

imprisonment of the plaintiff that are the subject of the claim for

 

compensation under this act.

 


     (b) "New evidence" means any evidence that was not presented

 

in the proceedings leading to plaintiff's conviction, including new

 

testimony, expert interpretation, the results of DNA testing, or

 

other test results relating to evidence that was presented in the

 

proceedings leading to plaintiff's conviction.

 

     (c) "Plaintiff" means the individual making a claim for

 

compensation under this act. Plaintiff does not include the estate

 

of an individual entitled to make a claim for compensation under

 

this act, the personal representative of the estate, or any heir,

 

devisee, beneficiary, or other person who is entitled under other

 

law to pursue a claim for damages, injury, or death suffered by the

 

individual.

 

     (d) "State correctional facility" means a correctional

 

facility maintained and operated by the department of corrections.

 

     (e) "This state" means the state of Michigan and its agencies,

 

departments, commissions, and courts. This state does not include a

 

county, township, city, village, school district, district, state

 

authority, or a combination of 2 or more of these entities.

 

     Sec. 3. An individual convicted under the law of this state

 

and subsequently imprisoned in a state correctional facility for 1

 

or more crimes that he or she did not commit may bring an action

 

for compensation against this state in the court of claims as

 

allowed by this act.

 

     Sec. 4. (1) In an action under this act, the plaintiff shall

 

attach to his or her verified complaint documentation that

 

establishes all of the following:

 

     (a) The plaintiff was convicted of 1 or more crimes under the

 


law of this state, was sentenced to a term of imprisonment in a

 

state correctional facility for the crime or crimes, and served at

 

least part of the sentence.

 

     (b) The plaintiff's judgment of conviction was reversed or

 

vacated and either the charges were dismissed or on retrial the

 

plaintiff was found to be not guilty.

 

     (c) New evidence demonstrates that the plaintiff was not the

 

perpetrator of the crime or crimes and was not an accessory or

 

accomplice to the acts that were the basis of the conviction and

 

resulted in a reversal or vacation of the judgment of conviction,

 

dismissal of the charges, finding of not guilty, or gubernatorial

 

pardon.

 

     (2) A complaint filed under this section must be verified by

 

the plaintiff.

 

     (3) A copy of a complaint filed under this section must be

 

served on the attorney general and on the office of the prosecuting

 

attorney who prosecuted the crime. The court shall give the

 

attorney general and the prosecuting attorney an opportunity to

 

contest the complaint.

 

     (4) If the plaintiff's conviction was for an assaultive crime

 

or a serious misdemeanor, the prosecuting attorney shall notify the

 

victim of the assaultive crime or serious misdemeanor of the

 

application under section 22a or 77a of the William Van Regenmorter

 

crime victim's rights act, 1985 PA 87, MCL 780.772a and 780.827a.

 

The prosecuting attorney shall give the victim notice under this

 

subsection by first-class mail sent to the victim's last known

 

address. The victim or victim's representative has the right to

 


appear at any proceeding under this act concerning the complaint

 

and to make a written or oral statement.

 

     Sec. 5. (1) In an action under this act, the plaintiff is

 

entitled to judgment in the plaintiff's favor if the plaintiff

 

proves all of the following by a preponderance of the evidence:

 

     (a) The plaintiff was convicted of 1 or more crimes under the

 

law of this state, was sentenced to a term of imprisonment in a

 

state correctional facility for the crime or crimes, and served at

 

least part of the sentence.

 

     (b) The plaintiff's judgment of conviction was reversed or

 

vacated and either the charges were dismissed or the plaintiff was

 

determined upon retrial to be not guilty. However, the plaintiff is

 

not entitled to compensation under the act if the plaintiff was

 

convicted of another criminal offense arising from the same

 

transaction and either that offense was not dismissed or the

 

plaintiff was convicted of that offense on retrial.

 

     (c) New evidence demonstrates that the plaintiff did not

 

perpetrate the crime and was not an accomplice or accessory to the

 

acts that were the basis of the conviction, results in the reversal

 

or vacation of the charges in the judgment of conviction or a

 

gubernatorial pardon, and results in either dismissal of all of the

 

charges or a finding of not guilty on all of the charges on

 

retrial.

 

     (2) Subject to subsections (4) and (5), if a court finds that

 

a plaintiff was wrongfully convicted and imprisoned, the court

 

shall award compensation as follows:

 

     (a) Sixty thousand dollars for each year from the date the

 


plaintiff was imprisoned until the date the plaintiff was released

 

from prison, regardless of whether the plaintiff was released from

 

imprisonment on parole or because the maximum sentence was served.

 

     (b) Economic damages, including, but not limited to, lost

 

wages, actual costs including attorney fees paid by the plaintiff

 

associated with the plaintiff's criminal defense or to actual costs

 

paid to prove his or her innocence, and actual medical expenses

 

related to the imprisonment required after release.

 

     (c) Reasonable attorney fees incurred in an action under this

 

act. An award under this act must not include any attorney fees or

 

expenses incurred in bringing a previous action that was dismissed.

 

An award of attorney fees under this act may not be deducted from

 

the compensation awarded the plaintiff, and the plaintiff's

 

attorney is not entitled to receive additional fees from the

 

plaintiff.

 

     (d) Reimbursement of any amount awarded and collected by this

 

state under the state correctional facility reimbursement act, 1935

 

PA 253, MCL 800.401 to 800.406.

 

     (3) An award under subsection (2) is not subject to a limit on

 

the amount of damages except as stated in this act.

 

     (4) Compensation may not be awarded under subsection (2) for

 

any time during which the plaintiff was imprisoned under a

 

concurrent or consecutive sentence for another conviction.

 

     (5) Compensation may not be awarded under subsection (2) for

 

any injuries sustained by the plaintiff while imprisoned. The

 

making of a claim or receipt of compensation under this act does

 

not preclude a claim or action for compensation because of injuries

 


sustained by the plaintiff while imprisoned.

 

     (6) An award of compensation under this act is not a finding

 

of wrongdoing against anyone. An award of compensation under this

 

act is not admissible in evidence in a civil action that is related

 

to the investigation, prosecution, or conviction that gave rise to

 

the wrongful conviction or imprisonment.

 

     (7) The acceptance by the plaintiff of an award under this

 

section, or of a compromise or settlement of the claim, must be in

 

writing and, unless it is procured by fraud, is final and

 

conclusive on the plaintiff, constitutes a complete release of all

 

claims against this state, and is a complete bar to any action by

 

the plaintiff against this state based on the same subject matter.

 

     (8) A compensation award under this section may not be offset

 

by any of the following:

 

     (a) Expenses incurred by this state or any political

 

subdivision of this state, including, but not limited to, expenses

 

incurred to secure the plaintiff's custody or to feed, clothe, or

 

provide medical services for the plaintiff while imprisoned,

 

including expenses required to be collected under the state

 

correctional facility reimbursement act, 1935 PA 253, MCL 800.401

 

to 800.406. The attorney general is specifically excused from

 

complying with the state correctional facility reimbursement act,

 

1935 PA 253, MCL 800.401 to 800.406.

 

     (b) The value of any services awarded to the plaintiff under

 

this section.

 

     (c) The value of any reduction in fees for services awarded to

 

the plaintiff under this act.

 


     (9) A compensation award under this act is subject to the

 

payment of child support, including child support arrearages, owed

 

by the plaintiff. The plaintiff remains liable for any child

 

support or arrearage under the office of child support act, 1971 PA

 

174, MCL 400.231 to 400.240, and the support and parenting time

 

enforcement act, 1982 PA 295, MCL 552.601 to 552.650, except for

 

any child support or arrearage that erroneously accrued while the

 

plaintiff was imprisoned. Child support must be deducted from an

 

award under this act before the plaintiff receives any of the money

 

from the award. This subsection does not affect any ongoing child

 

support obligation of the plaintiff.

 

     (10) This act does not impair or limit the right of a state or

 

local government to collect a debt of a plaintiff from the

 

plaintiff's award of compensation under this act.

 

     (11) An award of compensation under this act is subject to

 

setoff or reimbursement for damages obtained for the wrongful

 

conviction or imprisonment from any other person.

 

     (12) If a court determines that a plaintiff was wrongfully

 

convicted and imprisoned, the court shall enter an order that

 

provides that any record of the arrest, fingerprints, conviction,

 

and sentence of the plaintiff related to the wrongful conviction be

 

expunged from the criminal history record. A document that is the

 

subject of an order entered under this subsection is exempt from

 

disclosure under the freedom of information act, 1976 PA 442, MCL

 

15.231 to 15.246.

 

     Sec. 7. Any reimbursement as provided for under section

 

5(2)(d) must be paid from the general fund of this state and not

 


reimbursed out of any state department's or agency's annual budget

 

or current funding.

 

     Sec. 9. An action for compensation under this act must be

 

commenced within 3 years after entry of a verdict, order, or

 

judgment as the result of an event described in section 4(1)(b).

 

Any action by this state challenging or appealing a verdict, order,

 

or judgment entered as the result of an event described in section

 

4(1)(b) tolls the 3-year period. An individual convicted,

 

imprisoned, and released from custody before the effective date of

 

this act must commence an action under this act within 3 years

 

after the effective date of this act.