BALTIMORE — In Maryland, if you’re wrongfully convicted it’s difficult to impossible to get any kind of compensation for your time served.
There are about 20 people this will immediately impact who have been waiting for compensation.
While the bill still needs to be signed by the Governor, the Innocence Project says this is a win that shouldn’t have taken this long.
For Walter Lomax, the journey to compensation for his wrongful conviction has been long.
Nathanial Erb with the Innocence Project has been working alongside exonorees like Lomax for years to get this bill passed.
“Walter is just glad that other exonerees will be helped and won’t have to go through the arduous process that he and others had to go through," Erb said.
The bill that is named after Lomax just passed through the Maryland General Assembly and is now on the Governor's desk to be signed.
It would make compensation equal to the median household income for the time they wrongfully served.
It would take the decision on compensation out of the hands of the board of public works.
Kirk Bloodsworth is one of the many exonerees who will finally be able to get some compensation.
“Finally seeing that and seeing that recognition of the injustice that was done to him spoken on the floor," said Erb. "I don’t think it heals anything, I don’t think it solves anything. It’s the very least we can do as a state for people like him.”
In the meantime, another criminal justice reform bill named after Anton Black just passed through the House backed by the ACLU and Senator Jill Carter.
“It moves the public records of complaints against law enforcement officers," Erb said. "Right now all records cannot be disclosed whatsoever through public information requests in the state. This moves it outside of that category so that information can be accessed through a request. It also allows the Attorney General, Federal Prosecutors, and State Prosecutors to access that for investigating the actions of officers.”
On average around 2 people are exonerated in Maryland a year.
To learn more about their stories click on the links below: