News 05.14.08

Florida exoneree receives settlement

Miami city commissioners recently agreed to pay Jerry Frank Townsend a $2.2 million settlement as a result of his wrongful conviction of six murders and one rape despite his dubious confessions. Townsend served over 21 years for crimes he didn’t commit in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties.

The main evidence against Jerry Frank Townsend: his own confessions. But those confessions were fundamentally flawed. Townsend has an IQ of 58, making him vulnerable to police coercion. Following his 1979 arrest, he was questioned for five days by Miami police and the Broward Sheriff's Office, without an attorney present.

Prodding by both police departments led Townsend to claim responsibility for a host of crimes in Miami-Dade County, Broward County — even California. Townsend's confessions were rife with inconsistencies, but he was sent to prison anyway.

Read the full Miami Herald article



Townsend’s lawsuit against the Broward County Sheriff’s Office still stands. Meanwhile the Florida Governor is expected to sign a new bill into law that would provide $50,000 per year of wrongful incarceration to Florida exonerees. However, the law would render several of those waiting to be compensated ineligible for the funds.

Learn more about Jerry Frank Townsend’s case


Learn more about Florida’s “Wrongful Incarceration Act”




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