Kelly Shea Delvac, “Liberty and Just[Compensation] for All” -- Connecticut Law Review (forthcoming)
Pepperdine Caruso Law third-year student Kelly Shea Delvac's article, "Liberty and Just[Compensation] for All: Wrongful Conviction as a Fifth Amendment Taking," has been accepted for publication in the Connecticut Law Review (forthcoming, 2021). Kelly came to Caruso Law with the sole focus to work in the area of wrongful convictions, which includes the problems exonerees face re-entering society due to the lack of resources available to the wrongly convicted. The disparities in which exonerees qualify for any form of compensation for their time wrongly convicted is vast. The article was borne out of a desire to help exonerees, who don't qualify in any other way for compensation, through a Constitutional argument for compensation.
Kelly comments, "I came to law school thinking I wanted to get innocent people out of prison and I still do! But as I've learned more about the area of innocence I've learned there are a lot of tangential issues from before arrest to after exoneration that also need to be tackled to really effectuate justice." She hopes that the argument presented in the article can be used to create a recognized Fifth Amendment Takings claim for the taking of a wrongly convicted person's labor, so that every exoneree will, at the very least, get just compensation for the years they were wrongly incarcerated.
Abstract of "Liberty and Just[Compensation] for All: Wrongful Conviction as a Fifth Amendment Taking"
In the United States, over 2,600 people have been exonerated for crimes they did not commit. While some exonerees currently qualify for compensation for their wrongful convictions, less than 40% have received any type of financial support. This Article examines the history of wrongful convictions in America as well as the historical background of the Fifth Amendment. It then looks at the current compensation schemes available to exonerees and analyzes the evolution of Takings jurisprudence. This Article argues that a wrongful conviction is a taking of an exoneree's labor under the Fifth Amendment and, therefore, constitutionally entitles an exoneree to just compensation.