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The Habeas Citebook: Prosecutorial Misconduct
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Congress Exempts from Taxation Awards to Wrongfully Convicted

by Derek Gilna

Congress has passed the wrongful Conviction Tax Act of 2015 with votes from both sides of the aisle, exempting the damage awarded granted the wrongfully convicted from federal tax liability.   According to the Innocence Project, a prisoner-rights organization who has contributed to the exoneration of dozens of wrongfully-convicted and imprisoned individuals, hailed the new law as "the right thing to do."

According to Marvin Anderson, an Innocence Project board member and a twenty-year prisoner who was finally cleared of rape by DNA evidence, said, " It's crazy that, after stealing years of a person's life, providing little if any help with readjusting to the outside world, the government would want to take away the money that is supposed to help the wrongfully convicted rebuild their lives.  As it is, too many states provide inadequate re-entry services for the wrongfully convicted.  It's as though we are supposed to just pick up from where we left off, but it doesn't work that way...I'm happy Congress passed this bill."

Rebecca Brown, Policy Director for the Innocence Project, noted that, "we must do more to address these reentry needs, and the Wrongful Conviction Tax Relief Act of 2015 is an important step in this process.

The new bill would permitted a wrongfully incarcerated person to exempt from taxation any civil monetary damage award, as well as restitution, and other compensation.  The federal government, District of Columbia, and thirty states all have laws providing for compensation to the wrongfully convicted and incarcerated.

See: www.innocence project.org         

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