ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Gov. Larry Hogan is calling on attorneys to work out a process to compensate five men who were wrongly convicted of crimes in Maryland.
Hogan called on counsel for the Board of Public Works on Wednesday to work with the state’s chief administrative law judge to immediately put a process into place.
The governor said there’s no question the exonerated men deserve to be justly compensated.
Nearly 50 lawmakers called on the board this month to compensate them. But Hogan said the board doesn’t have the expertise to determine actual damages in such cases.
He said the legislature has failed to address the issue, and that the men shouldn’t have to wait for lawmakers to resolve it.
Hogan added that he is moving ahead with his plan to have the board’s general counsel work with the state’s administrative law judges on a compensation plan “so that these five innocent individuals can be compensated justly, prior to the legislature finally taking action.”
Maryland Treasurer Nancy Kopp, who also sits on the Board of Public Works, told the governor that there’s no need for the board to wait for legislators to act. She said that more than a decade ago, the board did handle compensation for cases where individuals were wrongly imprisoned.
“We did it. It’s in the law; the law does say that the Board of Public Works may do this,” Kopp said, adding, “I would just urge us to move very rapidly to take care of these men who are in the community now … they’re not getting any younger.”
The five men collectively spent 120 years in prison for crimes they did not commit.
WTOP’s Kate Ryan contributed to this report.
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