Some of the most important movers and shakers in Florida’s criminal justice system huddled in Tallahassee today with a simple, yet critical mission: protect innocent people from wrongful conviction. The Florida Innocence Commission held its first meeting in what will be a two-year examination of how the state administers justice.
There are clear problems. A dozen inmates have been released from Florida prisons since 2000 after DNA testing proved they were innocent. Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Canady says he’s taking the attitude that even one wrongful conviction is too many.
Chief Judge of the 18thJudicial Circuit Preston Silvernail says the commission’s work marks the start of one of many turning points for the justice system. He says DNA testing has been another important turning point.
Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Canady says he expects the Innocence Commission to listen to those who have been wrongfully convicted as Florida searches for better ways to protect the innocent. That said, Vidocq hopes that the Innocence Commission will listen to the William Thomas Zeigler Defense Team.
If there is one case that stands out it is Zeigler’s. Every nightmare you can imagine is present: jury misconduct, false evidence, sloppy police work, law enforcement contaminating the crime scene, suppression of evidence favourable to the defense, denial of DNA testing that could for once and for all settle lingering questions, and many more issues. If you search for “Zeigler” on DCC you will find a string of posts that explain why his is a wrongful conviction.
Zeigler has been on death row for more than thirty years now. The crime scene was never correctly interpreted and it begs to be understood. Vidocq hopes that the Innocence Commission will have the courage to do what the state of Florida should have done decades ago: properly investigate this case.
Read the article here.