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Trotter measure demanding payment of exoneree claims passes Senate

trotter 051917SPRINGFIELD – Today, legislation meant to create a continuous fund for claims by people wrongfully imprisoned passed the Senate. Senate Bill 1993 is vital to keep up these court-ordered claim payments. It has been nearly three years since the Illinois Court of Claims stopped paying these claims because of the budget stalemate.

The passing of this legislation through the Senate is only the first step in properly restoring court-ordered claims payments for those who have been unjustly sentenced to time behind bars. The budget impasse in Illinois has stopped the claim payments of 20 exonerated inmates owned a total of $3.4 million. Their suffering was caused by the failure of the justice system to properly dispense rulings, but if this bill passes the House we are one step closer to providing those exonerated with some closure and monetary compensation.  

State Senator Donne Trotter (D-Chicago), the sponsor of the bill, has called the legislation an important step in providing equity for people unjustly held in the penal system that have won in court:

“This is a critical piece of legislation that passed out of the Illinois Senate. It is our duty to ensure that those receiving claims for being unjustly incarcerated are compensated. These court-ordered claims can be used to rebuild their lives torn apart by convictions that never should have occurred. We need to be accountable to those that have been wronged by the penal system and found favorable claim rulings in a court of law. These court-ordered funds give relief to those who have been wrongly incarcerated in a timely manner. ”

Senator Donne E. Trotter is a Chicago Democrat and leading advocate for justice reform.

Senator Donne E. Trotter


17th District
Assistant Majority Leader

Years served: 1988–1993 (House); 1993–Present (Senate)

Committee assignments: Energy and Public Utilities; Appropriations I; Executive; Appropriations II (Vice-Chairperson); Committee of the Whole.

Biography: Senior hospital administrator; born Jan. 30th, 1950, in Cairo; B.A., Chicago State University; M.J., Loyola University School of Law; married (wife, Rose), has four children.

Associated Representative(s): Marcus C. Evans Jr., Elgie R. Sims Jr.