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Updated Law To Get More Wrongfully Convicted Exonerees Compensated In Effect


A change to the Victims of Wrongful Incarceration Act is now in effect. The updated Florida law seeks to make it easier for more exonerees to receive compensation for their wrongful incarceration.

Before the change took effect Sunday, a person wrongfully convicted of any crime could receive compensation from the state, only if they did not have a prior felony record. That fell under the so-called Clean Hands provision, and former Senate Democratic Leader Arthenia Joyner (D-Tampa) says it meant very few inmates received compensation because they—for example—stole a pack of beer in the past.

“This, now, would allow persons who committed minor crimes to be able to be compensated, if it was proven that they had been wrongfully incarcerated,” said Joyner. “So, it was a great improvement on the Clean Hands provision.”

Joyner was responsible for the initial 2008 law, but was forced to add the Clean Hands provision to get the bill over the finish line. For years, she tried to get rid of that provision, but term limits forced her out of the legislature before she could.

Sen. Rob Bradley (R-Fleming Island) solely took over the issue in the Florida Senate this year. Through a compromise with the House, the updated law now only precludes those with violent felony records from receiving compensation.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.