Last week, we shared the story of a man who has yet to receive his compensation for his wrongful conviction. As discussed, not all states have compensation systems in place. Nebraska is one such place. The Innocence Project of Nebraska is trying to change that. Omaha's WOWT-DT Channel 6 is reporting:
The Nebraska Innocence Project is calling on state lawmakers to compensate those wrongfully convicted. Their request comes in advance of the anticipated pardoning of five of the "Beatrice 6," January 26th. Nebraska is one of 25 states without a statute providing compensation to those who are wrongly convicted. The Nebraska Innocence Project is lobbying for the passage of legislation. The group says it's needed not only as compensation for a past wrong, but to help those affected transition back into society with mental and vocational counseling, as well as job training. Six individuals in total were accused of taking part in the 1985 rape and murder of Helen Wilson of Beatrice. However, they were cleared of wrongdoing through DNA evidence on November 7th. Joseph White did not seek a pardon because the charges against him were dropped.“The releases and pardons, acknowledging that a horrendous wrong has been done these people, are to Nebraska's credit," said Rebecca Murray, president of the Nebraska Innocence Project. "Many individuals who are exonerated in this country do not receive such a message.” She added, “Pardoning is not enough. These individuals deserve more than a pardon, more than an apology. They deserve resources to begin to put their lives back together.” Last week Senator Kent Rogert introduced LB 260, “Nebraska Claims for Wrongful Conviction and Imprisonment Act.” It would provide monetary and in-kind compensation to the Beatrice 6 and any future wrongly convicted claimants, and would expunge the conviction from their records.
According to the The New York Times Sunday edition:
Last month, the Nebraska attorney general, Jon Bruning, said DNA evidence conclusively linked another man, Bruce A. Smith of Oklahoma, to the rape and murder of Ms. Wilson, 68, who was killed on Feb. 6, 1985. Mr. Smith died of AIDS in 1992. In a pre-session survey by The Associated Press, 14 Nebraska senators or senators-elect said they would support a measure providing compensation to exonerated inmates. Five said they would not, and 20 said they were not sure. One did not answer the question, and nine did not participate in the survey.
Any compensation package that is established in Nebraska should include a no-sue clause. If a wrongfully convicted individual receives compensation he or she should be prohibited from seeking more money in a lawsuit.