House passes Robert Dewey-inspired bill to compensate the wrongly convicted
DENVER — Legislation to create a new fund to compensate Coloradans who serve time behind bars for crimes they didn’t commit passed the full House on Tuesday with just two lawmakers voting no.
House Bill 1230, which arose due to the case of Robert Dewey, now heads to the Senate.
Dewey was released last year from prison after DNA exonerated him of the 1994 murder and sexual assault of a Palisade woman.
New evidence led to the arrest of another man with no connection to Dewey.
Under the proposal, an exonerated person like Dewey would receive $70,000 from the state for every year of incarceration.
An additional $50,000 would be provided each year for those that wrongfully spent time on death row.
Exonerated individuals who spent time on parole or had to register as sex offenders would receive an addition $25,000.
Along with monetary compensation, the exonerated would be required to take financial management courses to receive compensation after the first year. HB 13-1230 will also cover tuition at in-state colleges for the exonerated and their children who served incarceration sentences of 3 or more years.
Dewey, 51, described his struggle to readjust to life outside of prison and his financial struggles in an exclusive interview with FOX31 Denver last year.
“I didn’t get a blank check and hop on a Learjet and fly out of Grand Junction, no whatsoever, I’ve got to buy gas and I’ve got to buy food,” said Dewey in that interview.