Bill to compensate those wrongly convicted heads to governor

Posted at 10:58 AM, Mar 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-19 12:58:06-04

BOISE, Idaho — Legislation that would compensate the wrongly convicted headed to Governor Little’s desk on Wednesday.

The House voted 64-1 to approve the amended measure from the Senate that would pay $60,000 a year for wrongful incarceration and $75,000 per year on death row.

Backers say the state needs to take responsibility when an innocent person is incarcerated. Idaho is one of fifteen states that doesn’t compensate people sent to prison for crimes they didn’t commit.

Idaho has several such notable cases, including the one involving Christopher Tapp (pictured, left) of eastern Idaho. He was convicted of rape and murder following the 1996 death of Angie Dodge. He was released in 2017 -- and DNA evidence cleared him in 2019. Brian Leigh Dripps was arrested on DNA evidence last year, and is currently charged with rape and murder in Dodge’s death.

Another former inmate who could benefit from the legislation is Charles Fain (pictured, right). Fain was convicted of kidnapping, rape and murder in 1983, following the death of nine-year-old Daralyn Johnson of Nampa. In 1984, he was sentenced to death. But DNA evidence not available at the time of the conviction later cleared him, and he was released in 2001. Johnson’s killer hasn’t been identified.

The bill’s sponsor, Republican Rep. Doug Ricks (pictured center), said six former inmates could benefit from the measure.

(story and photo by Associated Press)