Bill Cosby’s publicist says he’s owed compensation for his time in prison. What does the law say? I’m Amy E. Feldman.
After Bill Cosby’s conviction for indecent assault was overturned, his publicist said he should be compensated for the time he spent in jail. How much does a person get if his conviction is overturned? Well, that depends on the state where someone was wrongfully convicted, and it varies—from Texas, which provides 80 thousand dollars a year for every year in jail, to Wisconsin, which provides five thousand dollars per year. And some states—like Pennsylvania where Cosby was jailed—have no automatic compensation for people wrongfully convicted, although people can file a lawsuit against the state.
That said, there’s a difference between being exonerated and simply having a conviction overturned. Most states that provide compensation require that the person later to have been found actually innocent. Cosby is free but not exonerated, and while he maintains his innocence, that’s not why he was released, so filing a lawsuit would be an uphill battle.