BEATRICE – A Nebraska State Senator says the odds are not good for a bill getting out of committee, to allow financial restitution by the state to people who served prison time after being wrongfully convicted.
Senator Roy Baker’s LB 656 was heard recently, in the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee.
:12 “some signals”
Under the bill, political subdivisions could also apply for assistance through the state claims board, if final damages awarded by a federal court exceed the financial resources of the subdivision.
:34 “of cash reserve”
The bill was in response to a jury verdict of $28.1 million against Gage County, in what is known as the Beatrice Six case.
Six people who served prison sentences for a 1985 Beatrice rape and murder sued Gage County in federal court, after they were exonerated by DNA evidence.
One judiciary committee member suggested that if the appeal of the jury verdict and award is not successful for the county, a bankruptcy might trigger executive action.
:17 “some merit in that”
Over 30 years have passed since the crime occurred in Beatrice that eventually led to the civils rights suit by the six convicted, and later released.
:36 “Gage County residents”
During the hearing on the bill, no one testified in opposition to the measure and the committee has not yet taken any action on it.