When Justice Fails: Indemnification for Unjust Conviction

University of Chicago Roundtable, Vol. 73, No. 6, 1999

40 Pages Posted: 21 Feb 2009  

Adele Bernhard

Pace University - School of Law

Date Written: 1999

Abstract

The first section of this article reviews the evidence, both historical and contemporary, documenting the existence and frequency of wrongful convictions. The next dissects an actual case to illustrate how an innocent person can be convicted and why, once the error has been corrected and the conviction is vacated, that person generally has no legal action for damages in the absence of indemnification legislation. The third section argues that society has a moral obhgation to assist the wrongfully convicted; that indemnification legislation is a better approach than reliance on ''moral obligation" bills; and that enacting legislation is possible - just as it was possible to pass victims' compensation laws in every state. The fourth part compares various indemnification statutes to urge that antiquated restrictions be lifted and that potential awards be increased.

Suggested Citation

Bernhard, Adele, When Justice Fails: Indemnification for Unjust Conviction (1999). University of Chicago Roundtable, Vol. 73, No. 6, 1999. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1316583

Adele Bernhard (Contact Author)

Pace University - School of Law ( email )

78 North Broadway
White Plains, NY 10603
United States

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