Anonymous asked in Politics & GovernmentLaw & Ethics · 1 decade ago

Can the innocent inmates freed by new DNA tests sue the state?

I've been hearing a lot about the people convicted of crimes they didn't commit in Texas. Some have spent decades in prison, but are now freed thanks to a re-evaluation of the DNA evidence in their old cases. But once they're freed, can't they sue the state for a whole whole lot of money? I mean if you can spill mcdonalds coffee in your lap and retire, you'd think that you'd be a billionaire after unwillingly serving 27 years in prison for a crime you didn't commit.

5 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    The state is not the one that finds you guilty, a jury of your peers does. If the evidence is there, it may not be the state's fault. You would have to prove they were negligent to have a successful lawsuit.

    However, there is compensation available, but it is limited.

    If you search Steven Avery, he was jailed for 18 years for a rape, then later set free. He was given $400K, the maximum amount in Wisconsin... not much for 18 years behind bars.

  • 1 decade ago

    Yes. Some have sued. It is not just Texas. The program is called the Innocence Project. This is where law students along with attorneys work with clients to help get them freed. It was started by Barry C. Scheck and Peter J. Neufeld. By the way the mcdonald's case is a civil matter and the proof threshold is much less, preponderance of evidence.

  • 1 decade ago

    Some states have established compensation laws for the scenario you speak of. In order to be successful in a lawsuit (anyone can file for anything), one would have to show negligence or deliberately malicious prosection, NOT just mistake. This can be quite difficult in the majority of cases since the analysis of the DNA evidence that frees them usually was not available at the time they were convicted.

  • 1 decade ago

    you would think but they would not be awarded vary much this is the government and state you are talking about. the state is on a budget. they do not have to do anything even if they were wrong. plus most of the time its not a matter of guilt or innocense its who is the better debator the lawyer or DA.

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  • 6 years ago
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