Miami-Dade Legislative Item
File Number: 100561
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File Number: 100561 File Type: Resolution Status: Adopted
Version: 0 Reference: R-303-10 Control: Board of County Commissioners
File Name: URGING - VICTIMS OF WRONGFUL INCARCERATION ACT Introduced: 3/2/2010
Requester: NONE Cost: Final Action: 3/16/2010
Agenda Date: 3/16/2010 Agenda Item Number: 11A4
Notes: Title: RESOLUTION URGING THE FLORIDA LEGISLATURE TO ENACT LEGISLATION REQUIRING THE STATE TO REIMBURSE LEGAL FEES AND COSTS OF INDIVIDUALS PURSUING COMPENSATION UNDER THE “VICTIMS OF WRONGFUL INCARCERATION ACT,” IF SUCH INDIVIDUALS ARE ULTIMATELY FOUND WRONGFULLY CONVICTED OF A CRIME AND ELIGIBLE FOR COMPENSATION
Indexes: URGING
Sponsors: Audrey M. Edmonson, Prime Sponsor
Sunset Provision: No Effective Date: Expiration Date:
Registered Lobbyist: None Listed


Legislative History

Acting Body Date Agenda Item Action Sent To Due Date Returned Pass/Fail

Board of County Commissioners 3/16/2010 11A4 Adopted P
REPORT: County Attorney Robert Cuevas read the foregoing proposed resolution into the record. Hearing no questions or comments, the Board proceeded to vote on the foregoing proposed resolution as presented.

County Attorney 3/2/2010 Assigned Martin W. Sybblis

Legislative Text


TITLE
RESOLUTION URGING THE FLORIDA LEGISLATURE TO ENACT LEGISLATION REQUIRING THE STATE TO REIMBURSE LEGAL FEES AND COSTS OF INDIVIDUALS PURSUING COMPENSATION UNDER THE “VICTIMS OF WRONGFUL INCARCERATION ACT,” IF SUCH INDIVIDUALS ARE ULTIMATELY FOUND WRONGFULLY CONVICTED OF A CRIME AND ELIGIBLE FOR COMPENSATION

BODY
WHEREAS, it is reported that between 1989 and 2003, there were approximately 340 confirmed DNA exonerations in the United States; and
WHEREAS, it is also reported that the number of exonerations based on DNA evidence continues to consistently rise; and
WHEREAS, in 2008, the Florida Legislature passed Senate Bill 756, the “Victims of Wrongful Incarceration Compensation Act” (the “Act”); and
WHEREAS, the Act created a program to compensate persons who were wrongfully convicted and incarcerated for a felony offense; and
WHEREAS, the Act provides a process whereby a person may petition the original sentencing court for an order finding him or her to be a “wrongfully incarcerated person” and eligible for compensation; and
WHEREAS, upon approval of a wrongfully incarcerated person’s status and eligibility, such person may apply for compensation with the Florida Attorney General’s Office; and
WHEREAS, upon review and approval of the application, Florida’s Chief Financial Officer is authorized to pay compensation in the amount of $50,000 per year of imprisonment, adjusted for inflation beginning January 1, 2009, up to a $2 million limit, plus a tuition waiver; and
WHEREAS, wrongfully incarcerated persons are also entitled to automatic administrative expunction of their criminal record and the amount of any fine, penalty or court costs associated with the wrongful conviction; and
WHEREAS, wrongfully incarcerated persons are further entitled to the amount of any reasonable attorney’s fees and expenses incurred and paid by such persons relating to all criminal proceedings and appeals regarding the wrongful conviction; and
WHEREAS, there is currently no provision in the Act, however, allowing for the compensation of wrongfully incarcerated persons for attorney’s fees and expenses incurred in connection with the proceedings required under the Act themselves; and
WHEREAS, the inability to afford the costly fees associated with such proceedings is a deterrent to wrongfully convicted persons seeking the compensation to which they are entitled; and
WHEREAS, for example, it was reported that Leroy McGee, a 42-year-old Broward County man, was wrongfully convicted in 1991 of a robbery and served three years and seven months in prison; and
WHEREAS, the Act required that Mr. McGee go through a complex process, including proving his “actual innocence,” in order for the court to determine that he was a wrongfully convicted person and eligible for compensation; and
WHEREAS, it was necessary for Mr. McGee to seek legal representation in order to pursue his claim for compensation and, consequently, Mr. McGee owes his attorney 25 percent of any payment he receives from the state, thereby depriving him of a significant portion of the funds he was awarded,
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, that this Board:
Section 1. Urges the Florida Legislature to enact legislation providing that the state shall reimburse the fees, costs and other expenses, including legal fees, associated with an individual’s pursuit of compensation under the Act, if such individual is ultimately determined by the court to be a wrongfully incarcerated person and entitled to such compensation.
Section 2. Directs the Clerk of the Board to transmit certified copies of this resolution to the Governor, Senate President, House Speaker, the Chair and Members of the Miami-Dade State Legislative Delegation.
Section 3. Directs the County’s state lobbyists to advocate for the issue identified in Section 1 above, and directs the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs to include this item in the 2010 state legislative package.



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