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SB 169 – Compensation for Wrongful Conviction

Senate Bill 169 creates a process for compensating individuals who have been wrongfully convicted in the State. Delaware currently is one of 17 states that offer no compensation for exonerations.

To obtain compensation, a petitioner must show:

  • that the petitioner was pardoned, or, after the conviction was overturned, the charges were dismissed or the petitioner was acquitted on retrial; or
  • that the petitioner entered an Alford plea after the conviction was overturned and that the petitioner was innocent of the crimes for which the petitioner was convicted.

Under the bill, the prosecutor can prevent compensation by showing that petitioners were accomplices to the crimes at issue, or that petitioners intentionally “took the fall” for the true perpetrators.

Successful petitioners are awarded damages based on the amount of time they served sentences of incarceration, parole, or registration on the sex offender registry solely as a result of the wrongful convictions, as well as reimbursement of fines, fees, and costs related to the wrongful conviction.

The bill also provides an emergency stipend and post-release services for individuals who are released from incarceration and who receive pardons or whose convictions are overturned, vacated, or reversed.

Senate Bill 169COMPENSATION FOR WRONGFUL CONVICTIONCurrrent Status – Senate Judiciary 6/8/23
House SponsorsLynn, JohnsonSenate SponsorsHoffner, Townsend
House Yes VotesSenate Yes Votes
House No VotesSenate No Votes
House Absents or Not VotingSenate Absent or Not Voting

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

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