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Government & Politics

Ohio's Budget Proposal Could Make It Easier for People Wrongly Convicted to Get Compensation

big_gavel_at_ohio_supreme_court_building_-_credit_daniel_konik.jpg
Daniel Konik
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STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

It would be easier for people 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 would grant $50,000 for each year served by a someone who was wrongfully imprisoned because of sentencing errors. Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Brian Gutkoski argued such a case 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 said he’d like see the issue considered in a stand-alone bill, and that 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.