AG bill would help wrongfully convicted


Attorney General Eric Schneiderman today announced legislation that would revise current law to remove barriers and allow more people who are wrongfully convicted be able to sue the state for damages.

The “Unjust Imprisonment Act,” would extend the statue of limitations to file claims and expand grounds for dismissal of a case in Section 8-b of the state Court of Claims Act. It would also allow more eligible people who were wrongfully convicted to present a claim for damages against the state. The bill will be introduced by Assemblyman Joe Lentol, D-Brooklyn, Gannett’s Ashley Hupfl reports.

SchneidermanAPfileSince 1991, 27 people in the state have had their convictions reversed because of DNA evidence, the Innocence Project said. At least 10 of those people made false incriminating statements or pleaded guilty.

“Those who are wrongfully convicted and unjustly deprived of liberty must be allowed to put their lives back together again, and we have a moral obligation to help them do so,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “The legal reforms we are proposing today are critically important to not just to the futures of the people wrongfully convicted by our criminal justice system, but to our future as a just society. The Unjust Imprisonment Act will remove unjust and unnecessary burdens on those who have been imprisoned for a crime they did not commit.”

The current law says a person whose conviction is overturned may only pursue a claim if that person can show “he did not by his own conduct cause or bring about his conviction.”

The attorney general’s office said the language of the law can unfairly exclude people whose convictions are the result of a false confession, ineffective counsel and mental or psychological problems, among other reasons.

The current law also excludes cases dismissed because of a violation of the claimant’s constitutional rights and post-conviction DNA evidence that proves the claimant’s innocence.

The legislation would fix these loopholes and extend the statue of limitations from two years to three years to file a claim for damages. If the claim were dismissed, the proposed law would allow a six-month extension to the statue of limitations to allow the claimant to personally verify their claim to correct the mistake and resubmit the claim.


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  1. Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    I’m just now beginning my research to clear my name. My wife, Vanessa Jane Chapman Wennerstrom in 2008, who I had been attempting to get her help for personality disorders suffers from delusions that are possibly Narcissistic and sociopathic accused me of rape.

    I asked my legal team to get a psychological assessment of her to prove she was not capable of telling the truth due to personality disorders. I was ignored. They did one on me that proved I was honest and could be believed, yet they never introduced my psychology evaluation in as evidence for me.

    I had confronted her about cheating on me with a guy I discovered was a serial user of prostitutes, and his own wife suspected him of having sex with their 10 yo daughter but she refused to give him up.

    When I told her I was divorcing her and getting custody of the kids she accuses me of rape. It was only her word against mine, in the UK.

    She had admitted to the police many times that she was afraid that I was going to take the children away from her. Yet, not once did they bother to listen to her.

    She used the accusation of rape to stop me, aided by a police officer. Even the Crown Prosecution Service did nothing to challenge the reason she was crying rape was to stop me from getting custody of our children.

    My wife had even admitted in court that the word rape never entered her head, yet my trial went on. I was sentenced to 10 years in prison for a rape I did not commit.

    Now she withholds my children from me, illegally, with help from a solicitor who knows she’s in violation of our children’s and my Human Rights to a family life.

    I have a website offering £20,000 for her arrest and convictions along with those who helped her.

    I encourage you if you or a loved one has been wrongfully accused or convicted take to the internet and tell your story. Someone out there has the truth for you.

    Gerald W. Wennerstrom

    below is the link to my website: