When conviction is reversed in federal appeal court, what is the compensation for the defendant?

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When conviction is reversed in federal appeal court, what is the compensation for the defendant?

My friend was convicted in a federal case and appealed the case. He’s been in prison for 2 years. If the conviction is reversed in appeal court, is there any way for him to get compensation for his loss during his jail time? I mean his time and pain in jail, money he spent for criminal defense including lawyer. His company bankrupt as he, CEO was not there. Can he get compensation for all of these? If so, what is the procedure and how much it will be?

Asked on October 8, 2010 under Criminal Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

IF there was substantial wrong doing in his conviction--surpression of evidence that would have benefited him; lies by prosecution witnesses; racial discrimination by the jury; etc.--they your friend may be able to sue the state (and possibly any individuals who lied, destroyed evidence, etc.) and recover compensation. But without wrongdoing like that, there probably is no recovery--our systems does not generally compensate people for the cost of defending themselves, or for the time lost before an appeal is won or a conviction reversed or overturned. Your friend should discuss the specifics of his situation with an attorney, who can evaluate whether in his unique circumstances he might have legal recourse or a right to compensation. Good luck.


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