Two New Laws Foster Advances in Florida Criminal Justice Reform

06.28.17 By Innocence Staff

Book with title Florida law and a gavel.

Book with title Florida law and a gavel.

Earlier this month, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed into law two criminal justice reform bills—one which will aim to prevent further wrongful conviction and another that will make compensation more accessible for those who have suffered such injustices.

According to the Tallahassee Democrat, one of the laws that Scott passed was the Eyewitness Identification Reform Act, which was sponsored Senator Dennis Baxley (R-Ocala) and Representative Gayle Harrell (R-Stewart). Among the best practices that will be mandated under the law will be education for law enforcement who conduct lineups, so to prevent them from influencing eyewitnesses’ identifications.

Executive Director of the Florida Innocence Project Seth Miller said about the new law: “It’s really important with the passage of this that we have uniform practices with reliable outcomes. It’s going to diminish the number of times people are misidentified.”

The second law that was passed is an amended version of the 2008 Victims of Wrongful Incarceration Act. It increases eligibility for compensation for more people who’ve been exonerated on wrongful convictions.

Previously, individuals with prior felony charges could not receive compensation for any unrelated wrongful convictions in Florida. Consequently, the Democrat reports, that according to the National Registry of Exoneration, only seven out of the 63 people who’ve been exonerated of wrongful convictions in Florida have received compensation. Now, the new law—which was passed unanimously—says that exonerees are eligible as long as they have one or fewer nonviolent felony charges.

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Quaneshashantaisha Adside June 12, 2020 at 1:31 am Reply   

How do one support and get assistance?

Judy July 5, 2017 at 6:47 pm Reply   

Do you take cases that does not involve DNA? My grandson had to take a plea or be tried as an adult when he was 15 years old. He is innocent. The victim has even told me he did not do this..The problem is that we used up all of our savings/annuity for his lawyer and she did nothing for him. I wanted to go to trial but she and the judge, talked him into taking the plea.He had to go to a sex offender program for over a year and while he was there, his finger was severed by one of the metal doors, and he wasn’t even taken to the correct hospital. Also the severed part of the finger could have been saved but the nurse or correction officer did not know how to save the finger! He has to register as a sex offender (predator) every 3 months! He can not get a job. He has applied for at least 100 jobs and they say the same thing, “Due to your background check,etc.,etc..”
This is one of the worse cases of child abuse ever.
He is suffering from PTSD. He can not take most of the medicines the doctor has prescribed for him due to allergies.
He was being tested for autism by the Univ. of Fla. Here in Jacksonville when he was arrested. The police stormed his school for the handicap but the principal stopped them from grabbing him out of the classroom and took him to the office for more privacy.
The investigator would not allow me to sit in while they questioned him. I told the investigator I wanted to be there with him and he lied and said my grandson did not want me there! My grandson asked them to call me and told them he wanted me there!
I am at a loss. I do not know where to turn but you. I am 70 years old and my husband is 75 years old. We have raised this child since we picked him up from the hospital at 28 days old. We can not rest until this wrong has been corrected. It has taken a toll on our health.
Even his probation officer witnessed how the program our grandson was sent to threatened to keep him until he was 21 years old and the put him into the adult jail if he would not “confess” to the crime! This has to change!
Thank you, J. Nelson
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