The Erroneous Conviction Law, G.L. c. 258D, serves as the exclusive method by
which individuals can recover money for being incarcerated for crimes they claim
to have never committed. It is arguably one of the most unique statutory
schemes in the Commonwealth, intersecting criminal investigations and
prosecutions with the civil procedural process. In no other action could
an individual have the burden to prove his innocence, a prosecutor could be
deposed, and a victim could not be compelled to testify.
With the recent state crime lab scandal, and the further attacks on
eyewitness credibility and identifications, more criminal defendants who have
their convictions overturned will most likely be pursuing these actions for
money damages against the Commonwealth. This panel presentation –
consisting of both plaintiff and Attorney General representatives – will discuss
the latest caselaw and practice tips in this emerging area of the law.
Topics will include initiating an erroneous conviction case and the applicable
eligibility requirements, all aspects of discovery, and finally settlement or