Alan Crotzer, who was exonerated through DNA testing in Florida in 2006, may finally receive compensation through a special bill in the Florida Legislature that would pay him $1.25 million for the more than 24 years he spent in Florida prisons. The 2007 legislative session ended without passing the bill. Crotzer is one of nine people exonerated through DNA evidence in Florida, only one of whom has been compensated.
"From Al's perspective, finally having a glimmer of hope – to me, that's a hallelujah," said Michael Olenick, Crotzer's attorney.
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(Palm Beach Post, 03/11/08)
The special “private” bill applies only to Crotzer and does not include provisions for the other eight Florida exonerees who have not been compensated. It also does not create a system for compensating people who are exonerated in the future. Florida is one of the 28 states that do not have a compensation statute.
In addition to the bill to compensate Crotzer, the Florida Legislature is considering a bill that would pay $50,000 per year of wrongful incarceration for exonerees, but only if they have no prior felony record. The Innocence Project of Florida is urging legislators to drop the provision about prior felonies. None of the 22 states with compensation laws have provisions about prior felonies that prevent innocent people from being compensated for the years or decades they lost to a wrongful conviction.