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Idaho Innocence Project supports legislation to provide compensation for those wrongfully convicted

The Idaho Innocence Project, led by professor Greg Hampikian at Boise State University, is assisting Idaho State legislators who will introduce a bill that would provide financial compensation for those who have been wrongfully convicted in Idaho.

The House Judiciary, Rules and Administration Committee will hear introductory legislation that would provide state compensation for wrongfully convicted exonerees at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 29, in the Idaho State Capitol, Room EW-42.

The case of Christopher Tapp helped inspire the proposed legislation. In July 2019, Tapp was exonerated of murder after spending nearly 20 years in prison. The Idaho Innocence Project provided new DNA evidence that identified the real perpetrator many years after Tapp was coerced into falsely confessing to the crime. No physical evidence connected Tapp to the crime.

Tapp and others in his situation face the difficulty of life after exoneration in Idaho. Idaho is one of only 15 states in the country that offer no compensation to the wrongfully convicted once they have been released.

For Idaho exonerees who are left without support for housing, transportation, health services or insurance, and with a criminal record that is rarely cleared despite innocence, the punishment lingers long after innocence has been proven.