Skip to main content Skip to office menu Skip to footer
Capital IconMinnesota Legislature

Trio wrongly imprisoned among those seeking relief via claims law

Each year, a joint House-Senate Subcommittee on Claims decides which claims against the state it should fund.

This year’s proposal calls for nearly $1.16 million in payments in fiscal year 2024, including a combined $866,679 to three people who sought relief under the Imprisonment and Exoneration Remedies Act which provides a compensation process for cases where a person was exonerated of a felony for which they were wrongfully incarcerated.

Approved, as amended, Monday by the House Ways and Means Committee, the bill’s next stop is the House Floor.

The awards are:

  • $810,431.86 to Terrell Buechner who was convicted of an unrelated crime and wrongly required to register as a predatory offender, but, nonetheless, pled guilty three times for failing to register. Improperly on the registration list for more than 14 years, Buechner spent more than eight years in prison;
  • $240,000 to Joe Vento who spent 529 days in prison, but the statute he was charged under was later found to be unconstitutional; and
  • $56,008 to Ronald Fairbanks who, due to “substantial cognitive and memory deficiencies” did not knowingly violate the state’s failure to register statute. 

[MORE: View a summary of each claim, spreadsheet]

Sponsored by Rep. Luke Frederick (DFL-Mankato), HF3288 also contains a group of payments related to personal injury claims against the Department of Corrections:

  • $43,200 to James Vandevender for permanent brain injuries from an assault sustained while performing assigned duties at the Rush City facility;
  • $3,940 to Nicholas Edwards for a partial amputation of his right index finger that was crushed by a grommet machine while performing assigned duties at the Moose Lake facility;
  • $2,968 to reimburse the department for claims under $7,000 and other claims paid by the department between February 2021 and April 2023 for injuries under the community work service or sentence-to-service programs. There were four such claims; and
  • $520.08 to Jeron Falkner for permanent injuries to his left thumb while performing assigned duties at the Stillwater prison.

Related Articles

Priority Dailies

Lawmakers return to St. Paul for 2024 session — what can Minnesotans expect?
House Speaker Melissa Hortman gavels out the 2023 Legislative Session May 22. (House Photography file photo) The DFL trifecta-led Legislature made myriad changes across a spectrum of state topics in 2023. Paid Family and Medical Leave. Abortion rights. Free breakfast and lunch for ...
Legislative leaders announce 2024 committee deadlines
(House Photography file photo) Legislators and the public officially know the timeline for getting bills through the House committee process during the upcoming 2024 session. Here are the two deadlines fo...

Minnesota House on Twitter