Hastings Race and Poverty Law Journal


It is impossible to imagine being accused of a crime you did not commit. Worse, it is even harder to imagine a jury sentencing you to death or to life in prison when you know you are innocent. Since the rise of DNA evidence, the criminal justice system has been stunned by the newly exposed cases of wrongful conviction. Sadly, in most cases innocent exonerees are released with nothing more than an apology, if even that. Postexoneration compensation varies drastically among the several states and reentry resources are even more scarce or unavailable. Each compensation scheme on its own, however, is inadequate to address the needs of those returning home. This Note will highlight the three main paths through which post-exoneration compensation is sought and expose how each on their own are fraught with issues. Money talks when it comes time to give an exoneree a second chance at life, but the best way to achieve successful reentry is with a holistic approach that pulls resources and services from all three paths to freedom.

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