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Innocence Project Applauds Congress for Passage of the Wrongful Convictions Tax Relief Act of 2015




Bipartisan bill would end IRS federal taxation of compensation for wrongful conviction


(Washington, DC — Dec. 18, 2015) Today, as a part of the tax extenders package, Congress passed H.R. 3086, the Wrongful Conviction Tax Relief Act of 2015. This bipartisan legislation, introduced by Reps. Sam Johnson (R-TX) and John Larson (D-CT), and supported by several members of the Senate, including Charles Schumer (D-NY) and John Cornyn (R-TX), ends the federal government’s taxation of compensation received for wrongful conviction. In the U.S., individuals who have been wrongfully convicted and exonerated by DNA evidence spent on average 14 years wrongfully incarcerated. After being released, some of these men and women then had to mount an additional fight either through their courts or state legislatures to secure compensation for their wrongful convictions, only later to discover that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) sought to tax a significant portion of their compensation awards.

“It’s crazy that, after stealing years of a person’s life, providing little if any help with readjusting to the outside world, the government would want to take away the money that is supposed to help the wrongfully convicted rebuild their lives. As it is, too many states provide inadequate re-entry services for the wrongfully convicted. It’s as though we are supposed to just pick up from where we left off, but it doesn’t work that way,” said Marvin Anderson, an Innocence Project board member who spent 20 years in prison for a rape that he did not commit before DNA evidence proved his innocence. “Changing the tax law is the right thing to do, and I’m happy Congress passed this bill.”

Thirty states, the District of Columbia, and the federal government provide some form of statutory compensation for wrongful conviction and incarceration. This legislation would amend the Internal Revenue Code to allow a wrongfully incarcerated individual an exclusion from federal taxation on civil damages, restitution or other monetary awards received as compensation for wrongful conviction.

“Wrongfully convicted individuals face profound barriers to reentry while grappling with the lasting physical, emotional and psychological impacts of incarceration,” said Rebecca Brown, Policy Director for the Innocence Project, which is affiliated with Cardozo School of Law. “We must do more to address these reentry needs, and the Wrongful Convictions Tax Relief Act of 2015 is an important step in this process.”

2 Comments

  1. Louisiana judiciary branch is exhibiting statutory extortion; extortion; human trafficking; forced labor;
    Utilage of fraudulent evidence provable by FBI/CJIS and Nebraska OPD public records.
    Has used Habitual offender laws without authority. Specifically use of non violent DWI as precedent felony prior to act 2010 No.911, which changed the manifest verbiage from the prior requirement of conviction for controlled dangerous substances, with either a manufacturing or distribution attribute or a crime of violence.
    Multi-bill enhancement has caused me to be imprisoned for over 8 years.
    Above is subsequent to refusal to plead guilty to simple batter and resisting an officer, in the 6th ward, city court of Morgan city, Louisiana on September 22,m 2005. was threatened through IDB lawyer Dick Tracy, to, “plead guilty to this[six months/no deal], or Sostenes Ruiz,III[Hispanic city prosecutor], is going to change the charges to second degree batter[felony grade enhancement].
    from same August 28, 2005 arrest and subject matter, this Docket No.05-1258 in 6th Ward, was transferred to 16th Judicial District Court and became supplemental Docket No. 05-168512 Cruelty to the infirm.
    [Ma head-butted Dad, on hurricane Katrina day, blames adopted son.]
    [this all occurred after ww-ii vet congressional metal of honor recipient, James S. Burgo and member of the society of naval architects and marine engineers, had subdural hematoma brain surgery and post op memory lapses and mid speech freezes]
    record reflects James Burgo testifying that, ‘He does not remember anything of alleged events” and “the females are telling me what to remember”
    It took me awhile to describe the argument of deprivation of compulsory clause by use of James S Burgo post op, as he would be only witness able to exculpate defendant. Combined with declaration of Melvin Bougois as medical expert witness, even without his presence in court room, in order to defendant to exert right to question accuser.
    Any assistance that you may be, would be greatly appreciated. still working on exhaustion of local remedies and remedial services. Due to above used as setting of stage to perform bank fraud and other forms of theft by fraud.

    Sincerely;
    Donald Burgo
    767 DeGravelle Road
    Morgan City, La. 70380
    985-354-6131 Home/Fax
    985-255-3707 Cell Phone

  2. Debra s Moran

    My son is serving time for a crime that did he did not commit. There was no proof that anything happened. Even the judge said there was not proof but why would the person lie but there was proof that is exactly what that person did. I believe the person was coached in what to say. The transcripts prove that that coaching was done.

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