Laura Seitz, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Senate granted final passage Friday to a bill that amends the state's factual innocence statute.
The 2008 law is intended to give people who maintain they were wrongfully incarcerated an opportunity to petition a court to prove "under the facts, there is no way you could have been guilty," explained Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross. Weiler, who is an attorney, was Senate sponsor of HB307.
A factual innocence hearing is a form of post conviction relief different than an appeal of a criminal conviction.
The statute was used recently on behalf of Debra Brown, who was freed from prison last year after spending 17 years behind bars for a 1993 murder in Logan.
HB307 sponsored by Rep. Brad Dee, R-Ogden, would set a standard for a court's determination of factual innocence.
Under the bill's language, the court must determine by clear and convincing evidence that the petitioner did not commit the offenses of which they were convicted and that determination is based on newly discovered material evidence.
While the Brown case raised some concerns about the statute, the new law will have no bearing on the Utah Attorney General's appeal of the outcome of the district court hearing after which Brown was freed from prison, Weiler said.
- Preparing to split up, LDS General Primary...
- Employee error ruins 41 acres of Salt Lake...
- A river runs dry: Water and the future of...
- Utah taxpayers will pay millions more in wake...
- Boy, 3, killed in Lehi scooter accident
- Sen. Harry Reid's retirement recalls his...
- BYU student claims he was evicted after...
- 4-year-old boy gets new ear with aid of a 3-D...
- BYU student claims he was evicted after... 47
- Sen. Harry Reid's retirement recalls... 35
- Meetings to resolve Medicaid expansion... 29
- Utah taxpayers will pay millions more... 29
- Critics worry firing squad law will... 28
- Tea party movement still strong,... 22
- Salt Lake City to become next Google... 17
- Firing squad's return in Utah may... 14