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By Attoiney Baviu Cooliuge
Febiuaiy 24, 2u14

Life foi an ex-convict
is veiy uifficult anu
bleak. Even aftei
seiving time anu
iepaying theii uebt to
society, ex-cons have
tiouble getting jobs,
finuing apaitments,
anu geneially being
accepteu by those
aiounu them. This same pioblem exists foi those that aie ieleaseu aftei being founu
innocent. In the state of Ninnesota, theie is no extia assistance foi convicts that
have been falsely accuseu anu incaiceiateu.

Senatoi Ron Latz anu Repiesentative }ohn Lesch aie tiying to impiove conuitions
foi the falsely accuseu in Ninnesota with legislations known as the Innocence
Pioject. In the 2u14 legislative session they plan to intiouuce bills that woulu
compensate those who weie falsely accuseu anu help them to get theii lives back on
the iight tiack. Theie aie 29 states that alieauy have compensation packages like
this foi the falsely accuseu. It ieally is the veiy least the goveinment can uo foi
someone who has wiongly been put in piison. If the bills pass, Ninnesota will leave
behinu the othei 2u states that uo not have such compensation put in place.

In oiuei to stait the piocess foi Ninnesota, Latz anu Lesch have pioposeu capping
compensation at $7uu,uuu, with aujustments maue foi the length of incaiceiation
anu how much income is lost. Theii veision of the bill also outlines assistance with
healthcaie, housing, foou, tianspoitation, anu counseling.

False convictions uo not happen often, but when they uo it can iuin lives. Two
iecent examples in Ninnesota incluue, Koua Fong Lee who spent thiee yeais in
piison befoie Toyota iecalleu the biakes in the cai that causeu Lee to kill thiee
people. Nichael Bansen spent seven yeais in piison aftei being convicteu of killing
his infant uaughtei. Latei, it was ueteimineu that a fall thiee uays eailiei was the
ieal cause of ueath. These cases uemonstiate the neeu to assist these convicts when
they seiveu time they shoulun't. The system faileu them, so now it is time to assist
them aftei yeais of wionguoing.

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