Columbus – Today,  Senators Vernon Sykes (D-Akron) and John Eklund (R-Munson Township) introduced legislation to improve the compensation rights of wrongfully imprisoned individuals.

Senate Bill 248 will allow individuals who were wrongfully imprisoned because the prosecutor improperly withheld evidence before or during the trial to receive compensation. Currently, compensation is only available when procedural errors are made following sentencing, which is an extremely unlikely scenario. 

“This bill will bring justice to people who have been wronged by our judicial process,” said Senator Sykes. “The state cannot give back the years individuals unjustly spent in prison, but it can, and should, provide compensation those individuals rightfully deserve.” 

The bill also extends the right to receive compensation to individuals wrongfully imprisoned for misdemeanor offenses. Current law restricts compensation to felony-level offenses.

“Individuals who are wrongfully imprisoned due to constitutional violations before sentencing are no less harmed than those whose rights are violated after sentencing,” Senator Eklund said. “Fairness dictates that they have access to the same remedy.” 

Representatives Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) and Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) introduced companion legislation, House Bill 411, in the Ohio House of Representatives. 

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