(MADISON) Senator Lena C. Taylor (D-Milwaukee) has worked tirelessly on ensuring the passage of Assembly Bill 290, which settles the claim against the state made by Robert Lee Stinson, a man who was wrongfully convicted of murder and imprisoned for 23 years. Taylor is a co-author and primary supporter of this bill, which garnered unanimous support in both the Assembly and the Senate.
“Under Wisconsin Law, a person who has been wrongfully convicted may obtain a maximum award of $5,000 per year, with a cap at $25,000,” Taylor commented. “Under this bill, Mr. Stinson will be awarded an additional $90,000 on top of the maximum payout. This decision is made in a time where bi-partisan support is growing to boost the amount of compensation for Wisconsin citizens are exonerated of crimes for which they’ve been imprisoned. However, I was disheartened to by the $48,000 cut in the original award by Representative Strachota. Of the 29 states that offer any compensation, Wisconsin’s $25,000 cap is the second lowest payout for persons that have been wrongfully incarcerated.”
“The State of Wisconsin stole 23 years of Mr. Stinson life; it is only right that he receive something for the many years he was unfairly incarcerated,” Taylor continued. “This $90,000 payout is a drop in the bucket for Mr. Stinson. A valuation of each year stolen from Mr. Stinson by the State of Wisconsin amounts to a meager $3,913 a year, this is unjust and unfair. I can only hope we do better as a legislature for the other Robert Lee Stinson’s in Wisconsin.”
“The idea is simple: Wisconsin’s citizens deserve a fair and effective judicial process, and everyone has an invested interest in ensuring the system operates to deliver justice. The government should admit when it makes mistakes, and then do what it can to fix those mistakes. I hope that we can use this moment of bipartisanship to pass more legislation that improves our justice system, and helps reentering individuals acclimate to their new life.”