Innocence Project of Florida

Donate to Innocence Project
The Innocence Project of Florida is a non-profit legal organization providing pro bono legal and lawyer services to clients. They are a tax exempt organization pursuant to the Internal Revenue Service Act Section 501(c)(3). As such, all donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. The Innocence Project of Florida Federal Tax ID is 20-0210812.

Although they remain the only viable resource in the State of Florida for those who have been wrongfully convicted and imprisoned, they, nor their lawyers, receive funding from the State of Florida. Grants by the Florida Bar Foundation, Vital Projects Fund, and others have brought them this far, and for that they will always be grateful. But their continued operation and success depends on the generosity and financial support of the public.

Your gifts or support will help them:

* Evaluate and process the hundreds of requests that IPF receives;
* Fund more lawyers and staff to litigate our cases;
* Pay for DNA testing for indigent clients;
* Provide more transitional assistance to exonerees;
* Advance our reform initiatives to address the causes of wrongful convictions;

Help free an innocent person now.

What Your Contribution Pays For

* $25 – Pay for the approximate postage for mailing questionnaires to 15 inmates
* $50 – Purchase 10 reams of copy paper and other office supplies needed to respond to inmate inquiries
* $75 – Covers the approximate cost of one prison visit in North Florida
* $150 – Defray the costs associated with the screening and evaluation of a potential case
* $250 – Cover the cost of an overnight trip to visit a client in prison
* $500 – Fund vital witness investigation in a single case
* $1,000 – Pay for DNA testing on one item of evidence for an indigent client
* $3,000- Pay for three months of transitional services for an exoneree (The State of Florida does not compensate exonerees who are typically financially destitute at the time of their release.)
* $10,000 – Pay the approximate costs associated with all necessary DNA testing in a single case to prove factual innocence

More Ways to Support

* Donate by Mail
* Host a Fundraiser
* Donate Directly to An Exoneree Trust Account
* Click to Amazon from their Books page and purchase a book
* Use Goodsearch as your search engine (select us at the Goodsearch site) is a new Yahoo-powered search engine that donates half its advertising revenue, about a penny per search, to the non-profit organizations its users designate. Use it just as you would any search engine, get quality search results from Yahoo, and watch the donations add up!
* Use Goodshop to connect to hundreds of Internet retailers (select us at the Goodshop site) is a new online shopping mall which donates up to 37 percent of each purchase to your favorite cause! Hundreds of great stores including Amazon, Target, Gap, Best Buy, ebay, Macy’s and Barnes & Noble have teamed up with GoodShop and every time you place an order, you’ll be supporting your favorite cause.

To learn more about charitable giving opportunities, please contact:

Jackie Pugh, Development Coordinator

Innocence Project of Florida, Inc.
1100 East Park Avenue
Tallahassee, FL 32301

The Mission

Through the use of DNA testing, IPF helps innocent prisoners in Florida obtain their freedom and rebuild their lives. The mission has not changed since inception in 2003:

* Screen and investigate cases in which meritorious innocence claims are identified;
* Secure DNA testing when biological evidence exists;
* Advocate for the release of each inmate excluded from criminal responsibility by this highly critical analysis;
* Provide transitional and aftercare services to exonerees; and
* Advocate for necessary criminal justice reform to avoid wrongful incarcerations in the future.

The History

The Innocence Project of Florida (IPF) began in January of 2003 in response to an October 1, 2003, filing deadline for post-conviction DNA motions. Beginning with two advocates (Jennifer Greenberg and Sheila Meehan) working out of a hallway at the FSU College of Law, IPF has been screening, investigating, placing and litigating innocence cases ever since. They have to date received thousands of inquiries and/or requests for assistance.

IPF has also spent four legislative sessions at the Capitol, advocating on behalf of the innocent, so far concentrating our efforts primarily on the issues of filing deadlines and compensation for exonerees. They were quite pleased when the 2006 legislature voted to remove the deadline for filing petitions for DNA testing and the governor signed the bill into law. In 2007, legislators passed a global compensation bill that will pay $50,000 for each year of wrongful incarceration. Unfortunately, the bill also includes a so-called “clean hands” provision that excludes from payment anyone with a prior felony conviction or a felony conviction received while wrongfully incarcerated. No other state with a compensation law has such a provision, and we will attempt to have it removed during the upcoming legislative sessions. They also plan to begin addressing remedies for the ongoing problem of wrongful incarceration.

The Success

On December 17, 2009, James Bain was freed from prison after postconviction DNA testing proved his innocence of a 1974 rape and kidnapping. At the time of his release, Bain’s 35 years spent in prison was the longest time served by any of the DNA exonerees nationwide.

Larry Bostic was exonerated 18 years. He finally brought about his own exoneration by filing a handwritten motion for DNA testing from prison.

On May 23, 2006, Orlando Boquete’s conviction for attempted sexual battery and burglary was vacated. DNA testing on the victim’s clothing proved that he was not the man who committed the crime. His release from state custody was delayed until August 22, 2006, when he was released from the custody of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency.

On March 25, 2010, Anthony Caravella was exonerated after post-conviction DNA testing proved his innocence of a 1983 rape and murder in Broward County. At the time of his release, Caravella had spent 26 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.

On January 23, 2006, Alan Crotzer was freed from prison after postconviction DNA testing proved his innocence of a 1981 rape, kidnapping, and robbery. Crotzer had spent 24 years in prison in Florida for this crime – more than half his life. Crotzer and two co-defendants, Douglas James and Corlenzo James, were convicted of these crimes in 1981.

Five months after he was convicted of robbery, Cody Davis was exonerated by DNA testing. The evidence was sent to the crime lab at the time of the crime, but because it was not readily apparent that the evidence would be probative, it was not prioritized. Once Davis’ evidence worked its way through the crime laboratory testing backlog, it proved his innocence.

In 2004, eight years after he requested post-conviction DNA testing, Wilton Dedge was exonerated and released from Florida prison. In 1982, Dedge was convicted in Brevard County, Florida, of sexual battery, aggravated battery, and burglary. He was sentenced to two concurrent life sentences.

On August 3, 2005, Luis Diaz was released from Florida prison after serving 25 years for crimes he did not commit. Diaz was convicted in 1980 as the “Bird Road Rapist.” Between 1977 and 1979, more than 25 women were attacked in the Bird Road area of Coral Gables, Florida. Many were sexually assaulted after being stopped in their cars. After a highly publicized investigation, Diaz was arrested and charged with eight rapes attributed to the Bird Road Rapist. In 2005, after 25 years of protesting his innocence, post-conviction DNA testing provided powerful proof that Luis Diaz was wrongfully convicted.

On November 18, 2008, William Dillon was freed from prison after 27 years when postconviction DNA testing demonstrated his actual innocence of a 1981 murder. At the time of his release, Dillon’s 27 years was the longest time served by any of the DNA exonorees nationwide. He is the third man to be exonerated in Brevard County in recent years.

Nearly 11 years after he was wrongfully convicted of murdering his sister-in-law in Mayport, Florida, Chad Heins was exonerated on December 4, 2007, due to DNA evidence proving that another man committed the crime.

On December 15, 2000, 11 months after his death, and 14 years after his 1986 conviction, Frank Lee Smith was exonerated based on exculpatory DNA testing results. These results not only cleared Smith of the crime, but identified the true perpetrator, Eddie Lee Mosley, a convicted rapist and murderer, currently living in the Tacachale State Center for mentally retarded defendants in Gainesville, Florida.

In April 2001, Townsend was cleared of two Broward killings through further DNA testing, eliminating two of his seven life sentences. Ultimately, he was cleared of all the Broward charges and released on June 15, 2001, at the age of forty-nine. Townsend had remained in prison for twenty-two years.

On April 4, 2011, Derrick Williams became the 13th Florida DNA exoneree and the 268th nationwide after post-conviction DNA testing proved he was innocent of the crimes that he had been wrongfully convicted.

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