Prosecutors Concerned About Budget Provision On Compensation For Wrongful Imprisonment

Jun 21, 2017

It would be easier for people who were wrongly convicted in Ohio to get compensation for the time they spent in prison, according to a provision in the budget that’s passed both the House and Senate. But critics say that could cost the state a lot of money.

The provision in the budget would grant $50,000 for each year served by a convicted inmate who was wrongfully imprisoned because of sentencing errors. Assistant Cuyahoga County prosecutor Brian Gutkoski argued a case on that before the Ohio Supreme Court, and he joins with the Ohio Prosecutors Association in saying because it’s retroactive, this provision could cost the state tens of millions of dollars. “I don’t think a judge should have to consider, 'Gee, if I get overturned, is this going to be a payday for the defendant?'” Gutkoski said.

Gutkosi says he’d like to discuss this as a stand-alone bill but says it shouldn’t be part of a huge, must-pass measure such as the budget. But Republican supporters say fair compensation is justice for people whose rights have been violated.