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An Exoneree's First-hand Experience as the Compensation Bill is Signed into Law

The ceremonial Bill signing for compensation to those wrongfully imprisoned in Michigan took place in Lansing, on Tuesday February 14, 2017.

baumerCooley Law school invited Michigan exonerees to a reception prior to the signing scheduled for 3pm. I asked my elderly father if he was up to taking the trip from our residence in Roseville to our state’s capital. Of course, he was up to it. It is something that we have been waiting for a very long time. So as, not to be rushed, we arrived thirty minutes prior to the scheduled time. To my surprise, many of my fellow exonerees were already present with their families. Obviously, the joy and anticipation of the day’s events were also felt by them.

During the Cooley reception, we all had time to breath, relax, and catch up with each other. It was a moving experience and I’m thankful for the gratitude and hospitality that the staff and students from Cooley Law extended to all present.

After the reception, we all walked to the Capitol Building where we met State Representative Stephanie Change, who sponsored the bill, along with Steve Bieda in the Senate. The group was formally introduced to the House of Representatives with a warm welcoming.

 

Afterward we headed over to meet Governor Snyder, and witness his signing the of the Bill. The law will become affective March 29th, 2017.

Overall the whole experience was not only memorable, but personally enabled me to experience a form of closure. By partaking in the events on the 14th, I felt as if the State of Michigan finally was acknowledging and accepting the fact that it was responsible for my wrongful incarceration. In short, it felt like an apology to me, which helps in my continued effort to heal, emotionally and mentally, from all I experienced as one being wrongfully accused, convicted and imprisoned a crime that never occurred.

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I’m very grateful and thankful for all involved in the Innocence movement, may God continue to keep and bless everyone. 

Click here for pictures from the ceremony

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