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House OK's bill to compensate wrongfully convicted

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The Minnesota House Monday passed legislation that would allow innocent people who are wrongfully convicted of a crime to get up to $100,000 for each year they spend behind bars.

The proposal calls for a range of between $50,000 to $100,000 for each year of imprisonment.

Someone who wrongfully spends a year on supervised release or as a registered sex offender could be paid between $25,000 and $50,000.

The bill was sponsored by St. Paul Democrat John Lesch, and would also offer compensation for court costs, lost wages and unpaid child support payments, KARE-11 reports.

The bill doesn't limit how much money someone could get. The Minnesota Supreme Court's chief justice would appoint a panel to determine the payment amount.

The proposed compensation is a matter of fairness, the bill's sponsor Rep. John Lesch, DFL-St. Paul, told MPR News.

"We put them in jail and they shouldn't have been there," Lesch says. "When you screw someone's life up like that, it's our obligation to make them whole."

The Senate version of the measure awaits floor action.

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