Alan Crotzer was freed from prison nearly two years ago after DNA testing proved he didn’t commit a 1981 rape for which he had served half his life in prison. As he continues to adjust to life outside of prison, he is seeking compensation from the state for the loss of more than two decades. Florida is one of 28 states in the U.S. that do not have laws providing compensation for the wrongfully convicted. That could change in 2008.
While a “private” bill has been proposed that would pay Crotzer $1.25 million (or about $50,000 for each year he served), this bill doesn’t create a state policy to handle the reentry of those exonerated in the future. A similar bill to compensate Crotzer failed in the legislature last year. A “global” compensation bill has also been submitted for the state’s 2008 legislative session. This bill would provide $50,000 in compensation for each year an inmate serves for a crime he or she didn’t commit. The Innocence Project recommends that states pass laws (or amend existing laws) to provide $50,000 per year of wrongful incarceration.
Read more about the Innocence Project’s proposed reforms here
Sen. Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, says she will reintroduce what is being referred to as a "global" bill providing automatic compensation of $50,000 per lost year to anyone wrongly incarcerated. Should such legislation pass, victims would not have to go through the individual claims bill process.
"This is an egregious act," Joyner says. "Somebody took that much time of your life? My God, no amount of compensation could give me back the years I wasn't able to enjoy life. Just having the ability to make a phone call, or catch a bus somewhere."
Read the full story here
. (Tampa Tribune, 09/18/07)
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