Robert DuBoise Officially Exonerated from Murder Charge After Nearly 37 Years

The CRU announced their collaboration with the Innocence Project to audit prior cases involving bite mark evidence

09.14.20 By Innocence Staff

Robert DuBoise following his exoneration after 37 years on Monday, Sept. 14, 2020, in Tampa, Florida. (Image: Casey Brooke Lawson/The Innocence Project)

Robert DuBoise following his exoneration after 37 years on Monday, Sept. 14, 2020, in Tampa, Florida. (Image: Casey Brooke Lawson/The Innocence Project)

(September 14, 2020 — Tampa, Florida) Today, Robert DuBoise was exonerated from all charges in the 1983 rape and murder of a young woman in Tampa, Florida. DuBoise was released from prison on Aug. 27 after new DNA testing on evidence from the victim’s rape kit that was thought to have been destroyed, excluded him as the assailant and identified another individual. The Conviction Review Unit (CRU) at the Office of the State Attorney for the 13th Judicial Circuit has announced that in light of the clear injustice that occurred in this case and the discreditation of bite mark analysis as a reliable scientific technique, they will collaborate with the Innocence Project to review Hillsborough County cases that utilized bite mark evidence to secure a conviction. This is the first type of audit to be done by a CRU.

“Today, Robert finally has some measure of justice. His strength, courage, and determination for nearly four decades has made this day possible. We knew that Robert’s conviction rested on two leading causes of wrongful convictions– jailhouse informant testimony and faulty forensics–and today, there is indisputable scientific evidence that proves his innocence. I am grateful to the Conviction Review Unit for their partnership on this case and look forward to collaborating on re-examining other bite mark cases to identify other wrongful convictions that resulted from the use of this highly unreliable evidence.” said Susan Friedman, DuBoise’s Innocence Project attorney.

“I have been waiting for this day for nearly 37 years. I always knew that DNA would prove my innocence and hoped that the evidence could be found not just for me, but for my family as well. I hope that my story helps others to keep fighting to prove their innocence. I can’t get back the decades that I lost, but I’m going to try to rebuild my life with my family. It won’t be easy. I am just so grateful that my voice was heard and the truth is out there,” said DuBoise.

“Today’s exoneration finally removes the shackles from Robert DuBoise. He now has the freedom he has deserved all along. Once again, I apologize to Robert on behalf of the entire justice system for all he has gone through. Even after nearly 37 years, a prosecutor’s job is to seek justice, and that obligation to seek justice never ends. Wrongful convictions deprive victims and their families of justice; they deserve the truth—not false closure based on a false story. Beyond that, wrongful convictions threaten public safety, putting an innocent person behind bars while the actual person who committed the crime goes free,” Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren said.