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Compensation Ordered for Exonerated Man

Larsen v. California Victim Compensation Board Court: California Courts of Appeal, Docket: B297857 (Second Appellate District), Opinion Date: May 11, 2021. After a federal district court granted a petition for writ of habeas corpus triggering plaintiff's release from prison, he filed a claim with the Board, seeking compensation as a wrongfully convicted person. The Board denied the claim and plaintiff sought mandamus relief in the trial court, which upheld the board's determination. The Court of Appeal concluded that the trial court should have granted the mandamus petition because the federal court's Schlup finding and the later grant of habeas relief that resulted in plaintiff's release from prison without retrial by the state amount to a finding of factual innocence that the Legislature intended to be binding, and to preclude holding a Board hearing. In determining otherwise, the court concluded that the Board did not accord the Schlup finding the significance it deserves and the Board construed Penal Code section 1485.55, subdivision (a) in a manner that undermines the Legislature's intent and effectively renders the statutory provision inoperative in practice. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for the trial court to enter a new judgment reversing the Board's order denying plaintiff's compensation claim and directing the Board to recommend, pursuant to section 4904, that an appropriation be made and petitioner's claim paid.

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