Senate OKs Changing Source for Paying Wrongly Convicted

APRIL 14, 2006 - Posted at 8:05 a.m. CST

JEFFERSON CITY, MO - A bill passed by the Missouri Senate would change how the state handles payments for people wrongfully convicted of a crime and later cleared by DNA evidence.

A few years ago, Missouri passed a law allowing payments to those cleared by DNA evidence, setting criteria and a funding source.  Under that law, the repayment money would come out of a fund that's also used to pay for DNA testing of all felons.

Senator Michale Gibbons said that if DNA testing takes priority, people owed money for the years of their life wrongly spent locked up may not be paid for seven years or more.

So his bill would instead provide payments through general revenue, essentially leaving the payment decision to legislative budget writers each year.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)