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Retiring justice calls for fix to exoneration law

Michigan Supreme Court Bench
Courtesy Photo
Michigan Supreme Court Bench

Michigan Supreme Court Justice Bridget Mary McCormack has called on the new Legislature to fix a legal loophole that denies compensation for people wrongfully convicted of felonies

A Supreme Court decision says Michigan’s Wrongful Imprisonment Compensation Act only applies when new evidence is uncovered to exonerate a convicted defendant.

But that law does not cover instances where prosecutorial misconduct or ineffective assistance of defense counsel played a role.

And that’s exactly what happened to Charles Dale Perry Junior, who was convicted in 1990 of five counts of criminal sexual conduct. Perry was acquitted on appeal.

McCormack reluctantly concurred with the rest of the court that Perry is NOT entitled to compensation, which could add up to 300 thousand dollars. But McCormack said he should be.

Her final words were, “Please fix it, legislators.” McCormack is leaving the court this year.

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