Missouri may expand compensation for the wrongfully convicted, but few will qualify
A bill proposed by Missouri state Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer (R-Parkville) would increase and widen the state's compensation for exonerees under the condition they not file a lawsuit. But Tricia Rojo Bushnell, executive director for the Midwest Innocence Project, said the bill still won't fix many of the state's problems.
Missouri doesn't allow for compensation of those wrongly convicted and imprisoned, without DNA evidence. But a bill proposed by state Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer will expand who is eligible and increase the payout if they agree not to sue.
The bill is expected to be signed by Gov. Mike Parson. Tricia Rojo Bushnell, the executive director for the Midwest Innocence Project, calls it a start but not enough.
"It's certainly a step that we're having this conversation," said Bushnell. "Unfortunately, the provisions that are in the bill that are currently being discussed, don't get us there and wouldn't compensate basically, anyone in the state of Missouri."
Bushnell points to several issues with the bill, including legal hang ups related to the term "innocent," the annuity payment, an d inability for inheritance. She said it's also unclear whether or not the bill is retroactive.
Bushnell joined Up To Date to discuss compensation for exonerees and how the bill would affect those wrongly convicted in Missouri.