Texas Wesleyan Law Review


John Shaw

Document Type



In recent years, the number of exonerations of persons wrongfully imprisoned has increased nationwide. With the number of exonerations continually on the rise, 27 states and the District of Columbia, have addressed the needs of exonerees with legislation that provides for the compensation of these individuals. A majority of these states offer basic monetary compensation. Basic monetary compensation, however, is not enough. The criminal justice system has failed these individuals in one way or another, and after years in prison, many are in need of more than money upon release. Texas has been leading the country in exonerating wrongfully convicted individuals. In response to this recent development, the legislature took action by overhauling the current statutory compensation scheme. By increasing monetary amounts, and providing a wide range of services, Texas leads the nation in offering service to those individuals who have had their lives stripped from them for their respective wrongful imprisonment. This Comment proposes that the Tim Cole Act, should serve as a model for other states to amend or create comprehensive compensation schemes. Part I of this comment introduces the story of Tim Cole, using that story as a background to examine wrongful convictions. Part II analyzes the main causes of wrongful convictions and common suggestions for preventing these causes in the future. Part III provides information on the three main avenues of recovery for exonerees and explains why legislation provides the best option. Part IV details the history of Texas's compensation legislation, providing the context in which the current legislation was enacted. Part V analyzes the current Tim Cole Act, outlining the recent changes and their importance in providing a comprehensive compensation scheme. Part VI offers comments for the use of the Tim Cole act as a model and suggestions for further reform, particularly in the area of attorney's fees.



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