Under our current law, if an inmate learns of new evidence that wasn’t available before — like a witness who finally admits they lied at a trial, or a true perpetrator confessing to the crime — he must file a petition with his trial judge within 60 days after he learns the new facts. If he misses this deadline by even one day, he can never have that evidence heard by a court. Never. Dozens of inmates have contacted the Pennsylvania Innocence Project after they missed this deadline but there is nothing we can do to help them.
A bill pending in Harrisburg would change all that. Pennsylvania SB 1153 would provide innocent inmates a fair shot at proving their innocence in court by eliminating the current 60-day time limit on asserting a wrongful conviction claim when new evidence becomes known.
As Senator Greenleaf has said,
Eliminating the 60-day rule is the only fair thing to do. When there’s a claim of actual innocence accompanied by some credible evidence, there shouldn’t be any time limit. I don’t see how anyone can argue about that.
On our companion site, NoBar4Innocence, you will find much more information about SB 1153 and what we are doing to raise awareness and support its passage. Although passing this legislation would not prevent wrongful convictions, it would give those who have been wrongfully convicted a fair shot at righting this horrible injustice. Visit NoBar4Innocence and help the convicted innocent today.