Attorney Alexander Klein’s commentary “Make the Court of Claims Act Modern Again” was recently published in the New York Law Journal. In the piece, Mr. Klein makes the case that Section 8-b of New York’s Court of Claims Act must be updated to align New York’s criminal and civil laws.
When it was passed in 1984, the Court of Claims Act listed specific bases for which an exoneree who had been imprisoned but affirmatively demonstrated their innocence could pursue redress for damages they suffered. Over 30 years ago, these “Predicate Dismissals” were relevant. However, as criminal law has evolved, civil law has not kept pace.
Since 2014, a person wrongly convicted could have their conviction set aside in criminal court on the standalone basis of “actual innocence.” Yet, as Mr. Klein points out in his commentary, “‘[a]ctual innocence’ dismissals in criminal court are not a basis for ‘actual innocence’ civil claims under the present state of New York law.”
Mr. Klein argues that the goal of the New York legislature should be to amend Section 8-b to include ‘actual innocence’ as a basis for pursuing civil action, giving innocent people who spent years in prison the opportunity to obtain compensation.
Attorney Alexander Klein, a partner at Barket Epstein Kearon Aldea & LoTurco, LLP, co-chairs the firm’s Civil Rights division. Our team is committed to delivering exceptional legal representation to and protecting the best interests of the people of New York.
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