News 02.21.08

Florida lawmakers will move forward with compensation for exoneree

For three years, exoneree Alan Crotzer has been asking the Florida Legislature to compensate him for the 24 years he spent in Florida prisons for a crime he didn’t commit. Yesterday, he got some good news.

The Senate President said yesterday he would prioritize Crotzer’s claim to $1.25 million for 24 years of wrongful incarceration. That’s approximately $50,000 per year served, which is the amount that the federal government recommends and the Innocence Project advocates for compensation statutes across the country. Legislation to compensate Crotzer had stalled in the Senate last year on procedural grounds despite strong support from the House and Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who called the bill a “no-brainer.”

While Crotzer deserves to be compensated immediately for the injustice he suffered, Florida needs a more inclusive solution to help the exonerated get back on their feet. Innocence Project of Florida Policy Director Jenny Greenberg said it’s time for the state to join 22 others and pass legislation that would compensate people who have been wrongfully convicted (rather than considering separate bills to compensate each individual).

Greenberg … said a ''universal claims bill'' for the wrongfully convicted will help, but hopes that lawmakers won't make the bill so restrictive that victims of the justice system won't be able to get money to get back on their feet.

''It's not just Alan Crotzer who's affected,'' she said.


Read the full story here

. (Miami Herald, 02/21/08)

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