Can Victims Of Wrongful Convictions Seek Damages?

Imagine the following scenario: You spend years — or possibly decades — in prison for a crime you didn't commit, only to be released after it is eventually discovered and proven you were wrongly convicted.

It only seems fair that you should be entitled to some form of compensation for the time you spent unjustly behind bars, right? Fortunately, New York law — specifically, Section 8-b of the New York Court of Claims Act — provides victims of wrongful convictions with financial compensation under certain circumstances.

Proving Your Case Under New York's Wrongful Conviction Statute

Ideally, an innocent person would automatically be entitled to compensation if he or she were the victim of a wrongful conviction — unfortunately, that isn't how it works in New York.

In fact, under New York law, a wrongfully convicted individual must first prove the following factors by clear and convincing evidence before he or she can obtain compensation under the state's wrongful conviction compensation statute:

  • The individual was convicted of at least one felony or misdemeanor against the state and sentenced to time in jail, and he or she has served at least part of that sentence.
  • The individual has been pardoned of the crime on the grounds of innocence, or his or her conviction was vacated or reversed and the accusations dismissed (in addition to other more specific situations).
  • The individual did not commit the acts/crimes for which he or she was convicted.
  • The individual did not, by his or her own conduct, bring about or cause the conviction.

In addition, it is important to at least mention that victims of wrongful convictions may also be able to seek damages under federal law, depending on the circumstances. However, regardless of your situation, you need an experienced attorney by your side.

Edelman & Edelman, P.C.: The Wrongful Conviction Lawyers That Will Fight For You

While there are many criminal law firms out there that can help innocent individuals overturn their criminal convictions, our practice actually focuses on helping these same wrongful conviction victims obtain the compensation they deserve and are entitled to under the law.

We understand that no amount of money can make up for the time you spent in prison, but obtaining a favorable judgment can help hold the government accountable for your wrongful conviction — not to mention that the financial compensation can help you rebuild your life.

Even though our attorneys do not directly handle the criminal aspects of wrongful conviction cases, we can help assemble a quality team of lawyers and investigators who will work to overturn your conviction, at which point we will take over and help you seek the maximum recovery available.

To discuss your case with one of our attorneys, call our New York office today at 212-235-1197. You can also reach us online, if that is easier for you.

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