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Lawmakers OK bill to compensate wrongly imprisoned

ANNAPOLIS — Maryland lawmakers have approved legislation to change how the state compensates people who have been wrongly imprisoned for crimes they didn’t commit.

The House of Delegates gave the measure final approval Tuesday, sending the bill to Gov. Larry Hogan.

The measure sets a standard process for compensation. The bill repeals current state law that leaves payments to the discretion of the Maryland Board of Public Works.

Under the bill, an exoneree would apply to an administrative law judge, and compensation would be based on a formula set to the Maryland median household income.

The judge also could provide other benefits, such as housing accommodations, health care and educational training.

Lawmakers have weighed changes to the law after the Board of Public Works decided compensation for five men wrongly imprisoned in 2019 for the first time in 15 years.

The measure is named after Walter Lomax, who is one of the five men and has championed reforms.

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