Bobby DuBose’s wrongful conviction compensation bill heads to House floor
Bobby DuBose wants to remove the ‘clean hands’ provision of the law, so wrongly convicted people can get compensation, even if they were found guilty of an unrelated crime.

Bobby DuBose
The would strip the "clean hands" requirement.

Legislation expanding who may seek compensation for wrongful incarcerations is set for a full vote in the House after sailing through its committees of reference.

The bill (HB 259,) filed by Rep. Bobby DuBose, would extend the window for people to file for compensation from 90 days to two years. And an amendment — stemming from work in the Criminal Justice Subcommittee, led by Chair Jamie Grant — would drop the “clean hands” clause barring compensation for those with past convictions.

“No amount of money can ever repay them for the time they lost and what they have endured,” Dubose said. “A simple apology can help them move forward, but more importantly, this bill and this compensation, it’s something most of us may see as a process, but for many of them, coming back into society that they’ve been taken away from, this is really life-changing.”

Dubose is the House Democratic Leader-Designate.

Of the 35 states with codified wrongful conviction compensation, Florida is the only one with a “clean hands” provision. About 14 individuals are currently barred from seeking compensation because of unrelated prior convictions, Grant said.

“It is unfair as a state that two people can be wrongfully convicted of the same crime and serve the same time, but when released, we only compensate one of them for their lost time,” DuBose said.

The Representative from Fort Lauderdale says the years pushing for the bill have allowed him to meet Clemente Aguirre, Clifford Williams and others recently freed after wrongful convictions. His amendment would let people file retroactively if they were blocked from seeking compensation by that rule or because their acquittal or dropped charges came outside the 90-day window.

“What you have when somebody comes out of prison is a statute of limitations that requires them to prove they were wrongfully incarcerated prior to the point at which double jeopardy would apply or a second bite at the apple could happen,” Grant said.

The House Judiciary Committee gave the final check Thursday after a 13-1 vote. Winter Haven Republican Rep. Sam Killebrew cast the lone no vote, the first against the bill that passed its two prior committees unanimously.

“We’re recognizing the greatest atrocity government can commit is taking your life or your liberty,” Grant said. “It’s not a secret or unknown that we have had people wrongfully incarcerated. We have executed people who were not guilty of the crimes they were convicted of.”

The amendment prevents a deceased wrongfully convicted person’s family members from filing on their behalf.

Sen. Rob Bradley‘s criminal justice reform bill (SB 346) includes similar compensation language.

The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, Florida Public Defenders, Florida Juvenile Justice Association, Innocence Project and Conference of Catholic Bishops support the measure.

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.


4 comments

  • Concerned Mamacita

    February 8, 2020 at 1:47 pm

    Didn’t Dubose take money from the GEO Group in the 2014 election cycle? These people will say anything to pretend like they are on your side. DuBoses has an opponent, and I just sent a check to Elisha Manley!

  • Will Kable

    February 8, 2020 at 2:02 pm

    this dude took money from GEO so isn’t he profiting off of people being incarcerated ?

  • Elijah Dosda

    February 8, 2020 at 2:17 pm

    The fact that someone can be wrongfully taken hostage in the justice system and not have any retribution for the lost time with their families, the lost opportunities and permanent stain upon their records, is atrocious and undefendable.

    Our prison system needs to be revamped, and abolishing injustices like this is the first step.

    I support individuals who aren’t afraid of bold changes to better society, especially when it comes to issues that have been steeped in old ways of thinking for so long and to our country’s dentriment.

  • Elijah Ruby

    February 8, 2020 at 2:40 pm

    It’s hypoxritcal to do something like this and take money from cancerous institutions like GEOGroup at the same

Comments are closed.


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