On May 31, Maurice Caldwell’s evidentiary hearing for compensation for his 20 years wrongfully incarcerated concluded in Sacramento. The proceeding took place before a hearing officer of the California Victim Compensation Board and was opposed by the Attorney General’s office. Dozens of supporters attended the hearing and more than 130 community leaders, politicians, judges and lawyers sent letters of support for Maurice. Maurice now awaits a recommendation from the hearing officer to the full Board, which will then consider whether Maurice’s case meets the standard for compensation.
There is still time for you to add your voice!
While compensation is mandated by statute in the State of California, it is not automatic. Compensation must be granted by the Board which is comprised of three political appointees. The Board considers the recommendation of the hearing officer, but is not bound by the recommendation, and can grant or deny compensation according to its own assessment of the case. Only if the Board recommends payment does an exoneree get compensated.
Despite having his conviction overturned in 2011 by the San Francisco Superior Court and all charges dropped, Maurice needs to prove that he did not commit the crime in order to receive the compensation he rightfully deserves. Maurice has one of the strongest innocence cases our office has ever seen – multiple witnesses identified the real perpetrators, one of whom confessed, and eleven eyewitnesses said Maurice is innocent (case details here).
We anticipate the hearing officer’s recommendation to be submitted to the Board in August. Maurice’s case will then be heard at a full Board meeting, likely in September, where the Board will make its final decision.
Maurice continues to need your help:
- Write a letter of support to the Board on Maurice’s behalf.
We encourage you to use your own words to urge the Board to support Maurice’s claim for compensation. For ideas, please see the sample letter below. All letters should be sent to the California Victim Compensation Board, 400 R Street, Sacramento, CA 95811. Please also send a scanned version of the signed letter to NCIP Associate Director Todd Fries at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Attend the full California Victim Compensation Board Meeting (likely in September) —Pencil in September 21 (the scheduled meeting for the Board). We will be arranging carpools from the Bay Area to Sacramento and we will keep you posted with more details as we receive them.
Your actions can make a huge difference for Maurice – and in the lives of all the wrongfully convicted. Thank you for all that you do.