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Exoneration Fund

Overview

In 2019, the Indiana General Assembly passed legislation (House Enrolled Act 1150) which tasked the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute with administering the state’s first restitution program for wrongfully incarcerated persons. The law, set out in Indiana Code 5-2-23, applies only to a person who was sentenced to the department of correction or a county jail as the result of a criminal conviction, and was pardoned by the governor, or whose conviction was vacated, reversed, or set aside. As a result of this law, wrongfully incarcerated persons in Indiana are now eligible for compensation in the amount of $50,000 for each year that the person was incarcerated, pending certain requirements.

Eligibility requirements

There are certain eligibility requirements that must be met in order to apply for the program. For example, use of the Exoneration Fund only applies to a person:

  1. sentenced to the department of correction (including a facility under contract to the department of correction), or a county jail, as the result of a criminal conviction;
  2. who was pardoned by the governor; or whose conviction was vacated, reversed, or set aside;
  3. who is “actually innocent” as defined in Indiana Code § 5-2-23-2; and
  4. who has NOT previously applied for restitution under this chapter for the same conviction or any associated criminal investigation; or received compensation in any form from the state of Indiana or a political subdivision for claims related to the conviction or any associated criminal investigation.

Along with these eligibility requirements, individuals must submit an application to the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute.  Full details regarding the application, the timeframe to apply, and supporting documentation can be found in the “How to Apply” section below.

In addition, a person can only receive compensation if they dismiss, or release, discharge, and waive any and all claims related to the conviction. This includes claims against: the state of Indiana; a political subdivision; any applicable state agency; any current or former official, member, officer, agent, or employee of the state of Indiana, political subdivision, or applicable state agency; and the successor to any such individual.

Payment information

The maximum amount of compensation that a person can receive under the fund is $50,000 per year, regardless of the number of convictions vacated. Compensation for a partial year of incarceration shall be calculated on a pro rata basis. A person is entitled to compensation for only the period of incarceration that is attributable to the conviction that has been vacated. A person is NOT entitled to compensation for any part of a sentence that is served concurrently with a sentence for a conviction that is not vacated. In addition, a person is NOT entitled to compensation for time spent in pretrial detention, home detention, or work release.

If approved, the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute will distribute the funds in equal sums over a five year period.

How to apply

Applications are available here.

The application, and the release and waiver of liability, must be filled out in its entirety and accompanied by the following supporting documents:

  • Certified Order of Conviction;
  • Certified Order of Sentencing;
  • Complete case record from a case record service (i.e., DoxPop, MyCase);
  • Certified Order of vacation, reversal, or the setting aside of the conviction; OR Pardoning Order from the Governor containing the Seal of the State of Indiana; and,
  • Any certified settlement, damages, or restitution orders for monies paid to the exoneree in connection with the conviction, if applicable.

Application packets, including all supporting documents, MUST BE submitted to the Indiana Criminal Justice institute by November 1, 2021; or no later than two years from the date the judgment vacating, reversing, or setting aside the person's conviction becomes final, or the governor pardons the person. Applications can be sent using ANY of the following methods. 

  • U.S. mail, express courier service or in person

Indiana Criminal Justice Institute
101 W. Washington Street, Suite 1170, East Tower
Indianapolis, IN 46204

  • Electronically
    • Fax: 317-232-4979

Once the application has been received, it will be reviewed by the institute staff. If an application is determined incomplete, written notice will be provided to the applicant, which will include the information needed to correct the application. Then, the applicant has 30 days to amend their application or can request an extension of up to 90 days through the institute’s director.

Contact

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute during normal business hours at 317-232-1233.