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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 88750
Experience:  Attorney experienced in commercial litigation.
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This is the closest category I could find for this question.

Customer Question

This is the closest category I could find for this question. I was arrested and held for 3 days incorrectly (over a long holiday weekend). When I saw the Judge on monday morning He apologized and stated that he would have given me compensation if I had owed the court back fines but that is all he could offer me for their mistake.

I have been unduly burdened by this and it was a nightmare. I feel I should be compensated. I am disabled and my medication was taken from me and I suffered in excruciating pain the entire time I was incarcerated.

I reside in RI and have contacted lawyers and been told it would cost me about 5k to hire a lawyer to sue the state. From what I have been told I can only collect $1500 a day for wrongful incarceration and that would not even cover the legal fees as well as on my less than 1k a month stipend I cannot afford a lawyer in any case.

How can I make the state pay for their treatment of me. I was brutalized during that time and feel I deserve to be compensated and the system penalized.

It seems that the system can do anything it wants to you if a database is wrong and you must suffer for it's mistakes.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking.

If you were wrongfully incarcerated, there are RI General Laws covering this. Particularly:

RIGL § 12-25.2-1. Findings, declarations relative to persons wrongfully convicted.

a) The Legislature finds and declares that innocent persons who have been convicted of crimes and subsequently imprisoned have been frustrated in seeking legal redress and that such persons should have an available avenue of redress over and above the existing tort remedies to seek compensation for the physical injury of wrongful incarceration. The Legislature intends by enactment of the provisions of this act that those innocent persons who can demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that they were mistakenly convicted and imprisoned be able to recover damages against the State.

b) In light of the substantial burden of proof that must be carried by such persons, it is the intent of the Legislature that the court, in exercising its discretion as permitted by law regarding the weight and admissibility of evidence submitted pursuant to this section, may, in the interest of justice, give due consideration to difficulties of proof caused by the passage of time, the death or unavailability of witnesses, the destruction of evidence or other factors not caused by such persons or those acting on their behalf.

RIGL 12-25.2-2. Suit for damages.

Notwithstanding the provisions of any other law, any person convicted and subsequently imprisoned for one or more crimes which he did not commit may, under the conditions hereinafter provided, bring a suit for damages in Superior Court against the Office of the General Treasurer for the physical injury of wrongful incarceration.

RIGL 12-25.2-3. Evidence claimant must establish.

The person (hereinafter titled, "the claimant") shall establish the following by clear and convincing evidence:

a) That he was convicted of a crime and subsequently sentenced to a term of imprisonment, served all or any part of his sentence; and

b) He did not commit the crime for which he was convicted.

RIGL 12-25.2-4. Time to bring suit.

The suit, accompanied by a statement of the facts concerning the claim for damages, verified in the manner provided for the verification of complaints in civil actions, shall be brought by the claimant within a period of two years after his release from imprisonment, or after the grant of a pardon to him; provided, however, that any eligible claimant released or pardoned during the five-year period prior to June 30, 2006, shall have two years from the effective date of this act to file a suit.

RIGL 12-25.2-5. Damages, attorney fees.

a) Damages awarded under this act shall not exceed twice the amount of the claimant's income prior to his incarceration or $ 50,000.00 for each year of incarceration, whichever is greater. The total compensatory award for the physical injury of wrongful incarceration shall not be subject to taxation by the State of Rhode Island.

b) In addition to damages awarded, a claimant may also be awarded educational and social services paid for at state expense.

c) In addition to the damages awarded pursuant to subsection a., counsel for the claimant shall be entitled to receive reasonable attorney fees.

RIGL 12-25.2-6. Noneligibility.

a) A person shall not be eligible to file a claim for damages pursuant to the provisions of this act if the sentence for the crime of which the person was mistakenly convicted was served concurrently with the sentence for the conviction of another crime.

b) A person shall not be eligible to file a claim for damages pursuant to the provisions of this act if the claimant is the recipient of a private bill for compensation for wrongful incarceration
.

I am surprised you cannot get an attorney to take the case, since the statute provides that they can get the state to pay their fees and not you, so maybe the attorneys you called did not realize that. I am afraid though that no matter whether you file your suit pro se to seek damages or use an attorney, the amount you can collect is limited by the state law and you cannot get any more than that amount because the legislature has set that as a limit.

You need to contact the RI Bar as they have a referral service to civil rights attorneys in the area and also you can seek a civil rights attorney in the same sites used by other attorneys, http://www.martindale.com or http://www.hg.org


I truly aim to please you as a customer, but please keep in mind that I do not know what you already know or don't know, or with what you need help, unless you tell me. Please consider that I am answering the question or question that is posed in your posting based upon my reading of your post and sometimes misunderstandings can occur. If I did not answer the question you thought you were asking, please respond with the specific question you wanted answered.

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Also remember, sometimes the law does not support what we want it to support, but that is not the fault of the person answering the question, so please be courteous.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

OK, I see that this info is for being convicted of a crime I did not commit. I was held for court costs (90 dollars!!!) which I had paid a year prior. Not to mention the fact I had that money in my pocket anyway and they would not accept it.

Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for the response, but what you were held for, contempt of court, is treated like a crime under the statute. I agree with you being angry and I understand it, but please understand that all I can do is give you what the RI law provides for and I gave you that above.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

So what your saying is that I am SOL?

Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
No, what I am saying is you are entitled to recover and you would be able to file your claim, but you can only make a claim within the limits of what the Smith Hill Gang has put in the law.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 88750
Experience: Attorney experienced in commercial litigation.
Law Educator, Esq. and 3 other Consumer Protection Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thanks alot for your time!

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi, I keep getting emails about this question? did I not rate correct or something? Is it spam?


 


If it is still ongoing I do have one more need.


 


Do you have a recommendation for a RI lawyer that would take this case or is there a template I can follow to pursue this myself? the RI legal services is worthless here for recommendation lists. I wasted an afternoon with them.

Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

I apologize for emails you are getting. The experts do not send them out and have no control over them as we are independent contractors with the site and they do things without our consent, knowledge or control. Please accept my sincerest apologies.

 

I cannot make personal referrals as the site rule forbid that, but you can get a local attorney at the same site used by other attorneys, http://www.martindale.com or http://www.hg.org. You are looking for a civil rights attorney.

 

If you are looking to do this yourself, you need to go to the Superior Court library on Benefit St. and ask the librarian there for the form disc or books and look for a sample complaint form for you to write your own complaint to file with the court.

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