Synopsis As Introduced Amends the Court of Claims Act. Provides that if a person who has been granted a pardon or issued a certificate of innocence establishes that he or she plead guilty due to a forced confession, the Court of Claims shall make an award of $50,000 per year the person was wrongfully imprisoned and attorney's fees not exceeding 25% of the award granted. Provides that the court shall include the number of years the person was imprisoned awaiting trial in its determination of the award and that the court shall include an additional $25,000 for each year served on parole, probation, or registered as a sex offender after imprisonment. Provides that the court shall annually adjust the awards authorized by the new provisions to reflect the increase, if any, in the Consumer Price Index For All Urban Consumers for the previous calendar year, as determined by the United States Department of Labor, except that no annual increment may exceed 5%. Makes corresponding changes. Effective immediately.
House Committee Amendment No. 1 Replaces everything after the enacting clause. Amends the Court of Claims Act. Deletes language regarding the amount a court shall award to a person for time unjustly served in prison when the person imprisoned received a pardon on the ground of innocence of the crime for which he or she was imprisoned or he or she received a certificate of innocence. Provides instead that the court shall award $50,000 per year during which the person was wrongfully imprisoned and shall prorate that amount for a fraction of a year that the person was wrongfully imprisoned, including the number of years the person was awaiting trial. Provides that the court shall award attorney's fees in an amount not to exceed 25% of the award granted. Provides that the changes made by the amendatory Act apply to all claims pending or filed on or after the effective date.
Fiscal Note (Court of Claims)
House Bill 86 could have a cost to the State of Illinois, however no dollar estimate can be given. Under the current statute, award amounts for innocent individuals that were incarcerated are in three tiers, with maximum payouts based on the length of incareration. Each tier could be affected by this amendment, which allows payment of $50,000.00 per year in cases involving coerced confessions.
It is not possible to forecast the number of future innocence claims that may be received by the Court of Claims, nor the lengths of incarceration or circumstances surrounding any individual future claim. The Court received approximately 50 certificates in fiscal year 2020 and, to date, over 70 certificates in fiscal year 2021.