Attorney General proposes Unjust Imprisonment Act - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

Attorney General proposes Unjust Imprisonment Act

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ALBANY, N.Y. -- There's a new push to help New Yorkers wrongfully convicted of a crime hold the state accountable.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced plans to change state laws for seeking damage claims.

The Unjust Imprisonment Act would clarify that a person who falsely confessed or pleaded guilty may remain eligible to pursue a claim.

Adopted in 1984 and updated in 2007, the current law can prevent certain people from recovering damages from the state after having been wrongfully convicted and incarcerated. The proposed legislation allows those who can prove their actual innocence, even after pleading guilty, to pursue a claim. 

"Prosecutors are in the business of locking up the bad guys. But when the system fails us, and innocent people are sent to prison, they must be given a chance to rebuild their lives afterward - it's only fair. I applaud Attorney General Schneiderman for proposing this legislation," said Albany County District Attorney David Soares.

Since 1991, 27 people in New York have had their convictions reversed because of DNA evidence, according to the Innocence Project. At least 10 of those 27 people had also made false incriminating statements or pleaded guilty. 

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