The Florida Supreme Court has given Florida inmates who believe DNA evidence could set them free until next July to file claims asserting their innocence, reports the Miami Herald. Last month, Gov. Jeb Bush directing law-enforcement agencies to preserve all DNA evidence. The Florida Legislature now has time to decide whether the current Oct. 1 deadline should be abolished.
DNA evidence has been used to free several inmates in the last five years, including Luis Diaz, who was convicted in 1980 of the so-called Bird Road rapes. Under Bush’s order, law enforcement agencies, crime labs, and courts that possess any DNA evidence such as blood, semen, or saliva must notify sentenced defendants, their lawyers, prosecutors and the state attorney general’s office.