Florida chief justice creates innocence panel

The new chief justice of the state Supreme Court created the Florida Innocence Commission on Friday, saying it will study issues dealing with wrongful convictions over the next two years.

Chief Justice Charles Canady signed an administrative order establishing the 23-member panel just a day after beginning his two-year term overseeing the high court. Panel members include legislators, judges, prosecutors, law enforcement officials and some of Florida’s top lawyers.

Canady called the conviction of the innocent “a grave injustice” and ordered the panel to submit a preliminary report, including proposals for preventing those injustices, by next June 30. Final recommendations are to be presented a year later.

“The importance of having this Innocence Commission is so we can learn lessons from our past mistakes,” said D’Alemberte, a former American Bar Association president and ex-legislator.

DNA testing alone has exonerated 12 wrongly convicted people in Florida. There are no records on how many have been cleared for other reasons but the DNA cases probably are just a small part, said Seth Miller, executive director of the Innocence Project of Florida.

The Innocence Commission  will focus on policy. A similar commission in North Carolina made recommendations dealing with such issues as mistaken witness identification, improper collection, labeling and preservation of evidence and false confessions.

Based on an AP story

Comments are closed.