Legislation to increase the amount paid to people who have been wrongfully convicted of crimes in Louisiana cleared the Legislature Thursday.
House Bill 92 by Rep. Joseph Marino, No Party-Gretna, increases compensation for people wrongfully convicted of crimes from $25,000 annually with a cap of $250,000 to $40,000 annually and a cap of $400,000.
The measure also would extend the deadline to file for the compensation.
At first, Marino asked for $50,000 per year, but the chambers agreed to $40,000 with the $400,000 cap. The increased compensation would go into effect on July 1, 2022. Filers on or after the new effective date have the option to receive a lump sum payment of $250,000 instead of receiving $40,000 per year.
Many states – including Texas, Alabama and Florida – offer money to the wrongfully convicted.
In other action, a House resolution to create an Equal Justice Task Force to study the effects of the non-unanimous jury verdict law in Louisiana received final passage Thursday. The resolution, HR 197, was authored by Randal Gaines, D-Laplace.
It came after a House committee had bottled up a proposal to give new court hearings to 1,500 people who had been convicted of serious crimes by non-unanimous juries before Louisiana changed the law to require unanimous jury verdicts.
A resolution by Rep. Debbie Villio, R-Kenner, to study non-capital felony sentencing also passed the Legislature, as did a resolution by another lawmaker to study the use of facial recognition data by law enforcement officers.