Push to pay the wrongfully-convicted in Minnesota - KMSP-TV

Push to pay the wrongfully-convicted in Minnesota

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

A pair of state lawmakers introduced a bill Tuesday that would compensate Minnesotans who were wrongfully imprisoned and later found innocent.

The legislation from Sen. Ron Latz (DFL-St. Louis Park) and Rep. John Lesch (DFL-St. Paul) would put Minnesota in the company of 29 other states and the District of Columbia that provide innocence compensation. The federal court system also compensates the wrongfully convicted.

Sen. Latz and Rep. Lesch worked in close consultation with the Innocence Project of Minnesota in drafting their legislation.

In recent years, the work of the Innocence Project aided in the release of two people -- Michael Hansen and Koua Fong Lee -- who were present for the bill's introduction.


Michael Hansen was jailed for 6 years following his conviction for the death of his 3-month-old daughter, who died suddenly while in his care. He had been sentenced to serve 14 1/2 years.

"I won't ever get that time back, that is six years lost with my children, six years of being blamed for something I did not do, I did everything I could to make sure I was not angry during this whole ordeal."

More: Michael Hansen restarting life after innocence, freedom


Koua Fong Lee, served almost 3 years of his 8-year prison sentence before he was proven innocent.

On his way home from church in June 2006, Lee's Toyota Camry smashed into the back of a car stopped at a red light at Snelling Avenue off Interstate 94. Lee insisted his brakes gave out, and when reports of similar cases surfaced and led to a nationwide recall, even some jurors who put him in jail wanted the case re-examined.

"On that day I did everything that I could to stop that vehicle and that vehicle didn't stop."

INNOCENCE PROJECT: Freedom, career taken from promising football player

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