Monday, June 14, 2010
Innocence Commission of Florida Up But Is It Running
Today, the Orlando Sentinel reported that the Florida Innocence Commission has been funded for the year and will have an attorney and staff member, as well as the yet to be announced commission members. The Supreme Court of Florida wants the Commission to look into systemic reasons for the wrongfully convicted in Florida. As I have written about before, the Death Penalty Information Center and the Innocence Project claim that 22 Florida death row inmates have been exonerated, the highest in the nation. This Commission is absolutely essential in order to confirm what we, as defense lawyers already know - that jailhouse snitches, junk science, coerced confessions, and mistaken eyewitness identifications, permeate the criminal justice system, and are resposible for the incarceration of more innocent people than anyone would care to know. But we must know, and we must move, after the truth comes to light, to preclude this type of evidence from coming into the courtroom. I have begun to file Motions for Reliability Hearings, especially after a federal judge issued an order, based on the findings of the NRC Report, that defense counsel has a duty to contest all forensic evidence. See my prior blog entitled "It's All Junk - Defense Counsel's Duty to Litigate Forensic Evidence."