Award hearings to allow eligible exonerees to present their cases for time unjustly served

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Court of Appeals will hear three cases this week that involve exonerees who are eligible for financial compensation under a law that Sen. Steve Bieda (D–Warren) crafted.

The wrongfully convicted are scheduled to present their cases before the Michigan Court of Appeals on Wed., Aug. 16, at 11 a.m. in the 14th floor courtroom of Cadillac Place, 3020 W. Grand Blvd. in Detroit.

“The pursuit of justice sometimes involves a long path full of twists and turns, but these award hearings are such an important step in the process of making those wrongfully convicted feel somewhat whole again,” Sen. Bieda said.

Exonerees often face tremendous difficulties returning to life after being wrongfully convicted because they don’t receive the same type of reintegration services, such as help with housing, employment or medical care, as parolees — leaving them to fight another battle alone.

“While compensation helps, no amount of money can fully restore the time that exonerees lost with loved ones, mend the relationships left behind, or repair the pain they feel daily,” Sen. Bieda said.

After more than a decade’s worth of work in trying to get a bill passed, Sen. Bieda’s legislation, Senate Bill 291, received bipartisan, unanimous support in the Senate by a vote of 37-0, and easily passed in the House of Representatives by a vote of 104-2, on Dec. 7, 2016.

The bill was signed into law as Public Act 343 by Gov. Snyder on Dec. 21, 2016.