Wisconsin has one of the nation’s oldest wrongful conviction compensation statutes, dating to 1913. It also rivals New Hampshire for offering exonerees with the least compensation. The Wisconsin Claims Board can award eligible exonerees no more than $25,000 in total at a rate of no more than $5,000 per year incarcerated. Within the Wisconsin statute lies a small and seldom-used door to more appropriate awards. The Wisconsin Court of Appeals in June, 2022 issued a divided opinion that may crack that door open just a bit wider. For states with particularly ungenerous statutes, but without the desire to change them, the Wisconsin approach could offer an appealing alternative. This report examines the Wisconsin statute and the case, brought by Derrick Sanders, that led to its reinterpretation.
GW Paper Series
Gutman, Jeffrey and National Registry of Exonerations, "Compensation under the Microscope: Wisconsin" (2022). GW Law Faculty Publications & Other Works. 1689.