Tim Atkins was wrongfully convicted of a crime he did not commit and spent 23 years in prison. Although compensation statutes like California's have admirable goals, Tim Atkins's case fell through some substantial cracks that prompted the Authors to write this Article. As two of the many lawyers who have worked on Tim's case over the years, it has been an incredibly frustrating journey to see him denied compensation after all that has been done to prove his innocence. California's statute is flawed and is being misinterpreted, just as other compensation statutes are flawed and misinterpreted around the country. This Article looks at those statutes and contextualizes the problems using Tim's legal odyssey as a framework. Specifically, this Article addresses the following questions:
1. What should the process be for adjudicating innocence compensation claims?
2. What should the standard be for a successful claim?
3. Should the court record be given any deference in the compensation process?
4. Should contributory negligence be considered?
5. How much should exonerees be compensated?
6. What should the time requirements be for filing and responding to a compensation claim?
7. Should a denial of compensation be appealable?
8. Should compensation be applied retroactively?
9. Should compensation be assignable?