Sometimes new evidence comes to light after a person has been convicted of a crime and is serving time in prison. This evidence can lead a Minnesota court to reverse the original judgment. Those who are falsely convicted can never regain the years of their life that were spent incarcerated, but Minnesota statutes allow a person who has been exonerated to make a claim for compensation for the time that was served.

Exoneration comes after a conviction is reversed and the charges are dismissed due to evidence of innocence, or after a not guilty verdict arises from a new trial and is not followed by a successful appeal on the part of the prosecutor. Once eligibility factors have been met, the petition for compensation can be filed 60 days later. It must be in the same district court that provided the guilty verdict. The time limit for filing is two years, and the prosecutor has 60 days to respond.

MPR News reports that the state’s exoneration compensation law, which was passed in 2014, defines eligibility conditions in Minnesota and allows awards of up to $100,000 per year served. The three people who have recently fulfilled the requirements have petitioned for physical and emotional damages, as well, and settlements have been ordered by the court.  

While the rulings do indicate responsibility on the part of lawmakers, the money to pay the settlements was never set aside from the state’s budget. Now, a new bill must be passed to resolve this issue and begin the payments that have been awarded.

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