In what supporters called an historic attempt to correct injustice, the Florida Legislature yesterday approved automatic compensation for people sentenced to prison for crimes they did not commit, reports the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel. Because of a controversial “clean hands” provision, an innocent Broward County man who was freed last fall after spending 19 years behind bars for a rape and armed robbery is excluded from the automatic payment. Anyone with a prior felony conviction isn’t eligible for an automatic payment.
The Florida House approved the wrongful incarceration reparations of $50,000 for every year spent behind bars, sending the bill to Gov. Charlie Crist. The Senate approved it last week. Crist, who earlier this month signed a $1.25-million payment to Alan Crotzer, who spent nearly a quarter-century in prison for two rapes he didn’t commit, has expressed support for the idea. Seven of the nine Floridians who have been freed by DNA evidence would not qualify for the fast-tracked reparations because of the clean hands provision.