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Random Notes on NJ Government

Atlantic County woman seeks $144,387.46 under Mistaken Imprisonment Act.

On April 30, 2018, an Atlantic County woman filed a lawsuit against the State of New Jersey claiming that she “is an innocent person who was wrongly imprisoned”  for 1,054 days for a crime she did not commit.  She is seeking compensation for the 1,054 days she spent in jail at the $50,000 per year rate prescribed by the Mistaken Imprisonment Act, N.J.S.A. 52:4C-1 et seq.

In her lawsuit, Domonique Hines of Folsom asserted that on April 1, 2014 she was convicted by a Cumberland County jury of conspiracy to commit robbery in the second degree and was sentenced to six years in prison with a requirement that she serve eighty-five percent of the sentence before being eligible for parole.  In a February 13, 2017 opinion, a three-judge panel of the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division reversed her conviction because she was deprived of a trial separate from her co-defendant and because of improper testimony by police.  Hines stated in her lawsuit that all charges against her were dismissed on October 17, 2017.

The judge who presided over the trial was Cumberland County Superior Court Judge Cristen D’Arrigo.  The case was covered extensively by local media (here, here and here). 

Hines, who is currently 29 years old but was 19 at the time of the alleged robbery in December 2007, is being represented in her civil action by Robert N. Agre of Haddonfield.  In addition to the $144,387.46, Hines is also seeking reimbursement of her court costs and Agre’s attorney fees.

By John Paff

Chairman of the New Jersey Libertarian Party's Open Government Advocacy Project