November 28, 2017
Danger Lurking in Wrongful Convictions
by John Kelly
One inmate per week is released due to new evidence from scientific advancements, and the legal recovery averages $10 million per inmate.
A great concern today is the impact of damages associated with wrongful conviction claims.
Last month, two local entities in Illinois were sued by a wrongfully convicted young woman. After spending nearly 10 years in prison, then being released due to an advancement in science/knowledge of shaken baby syndrome, Jennifer Del Prete could be one of the most sympathetic claimants imaginable. She could potentially collect $20 million. In this case, two local villages have exposure, both belonging to a single “cooperative purchasing program.”
It is estimated that one inmate per week is released due to new evidence related to scientific advancements, and the legal recovery averages $10 million per inmate. DNA evidence and renewed scrutiny of court cases by legal think tanks is driving the push toward reconsideration of these cases. In the Del Prete case, new medical evidence was overwhelming, and a Northwestern University investigative journalism center found exculpatory evidence suppressed by the prosecution.
See also: How Underwriting Is Being Transformed
This is more food for thought regarding underwriting, overall exposure to wrongful conviction, available limits (per member and reinsurance pool aggregate) and the potential impact on current immunity or tort caps. The trend toward justice for wrongful convictions will continue to gain strength as science and technology advance. These advancements will be embraced by justice advocates like the Medill Justice Project at Northwestern University.