PBCBA BAR BULLETINS 0817 PB Bar Bully Sept PRINT - Page 13

16 People, 300 Years – It is Time to Stand Up by Nellie L. King “Injustice Anywhere is a Threat to Justice Everywhere.” – Martin Luther King, Jr. I ask for your help. Please join me and co-host Richard Lubin at the Second Annual “Stand Up for Innocence” fundraiser on Friday, October 6th, at 7:00 p.m. at the Kelsey Theater in Lake Park. Benefitting the Innocence Project of Florida, attendees will enjoy an evening of top comedic talent all in the name of a great cause. Regardless of practice area, lawyers share common values. Central to this value system is the lawyer’s obligation to ensure that justice is more than just esoteric verbiage thrown about in casual conversation; that justice indeed represents the bedrock principle behind the criminal justice system. The word obligation is appropriate because of the role lawyers play in the community and as caretakers of the legal system. Simply stated, we stand for much more than the files we work on every day. Civil practitioners fight passionately for their clients and their causes – whether it’s a dispute over a business relationship gone bad, a car accident, or a contract dispute. But, as we know, criminal law is different. The criminal justice system has enormous consequences not only to the citizen accused entangled within it, but also to society. The power to execute accused citizens, sentence kids to extraordinarily long prison sentences, impose interminable probationary supervision, and strip citizens of the rights to vote and bear arms is unique. And with this awesome power comes responsibility. This responsibility, this obligation, is all of ours, however. There is an organization that stands as the stopgap when the system gets it wrong. When people are wrongfully convicted and sentenced to prison, the Innocence Project of Florida (IPF) returns justice to the wrongfully accused, restoring our faith in the system we tout as the best in the world. The Innocence Project of Florida is funded solely through grants and donations and your financial support is critical to IPF’s continued operations. The costs associated with IPF’s litigation are incredibly expensive, with the average cost for DNA testing exceeding $5,000.00 per case, for example. Sixteen people have been exonerated in Florida, collectively serving more than 300 years in prison. These staggering figures are but the start - there is much more work to be done. Each year, the Innocence Project of Florida receives more than 1,000 requests for inmate assistance. The numbers of exonerees will rise as IPF continues the task of righting the wrongs associated with faulty forensic science, eyewitness misidentification, false confessions, and other common causes of wrongful convictions. September 2017 Attorney David Prather, who has pledged $ 5,000 to this effort, strongly urges other lawyers to contribute. David stated: “I strongly support the Innocence Project and the folks who work everyday to achieve justice for those wrongfully convicted and incarcerated. I have seen firsthand the huge impact the Innocence Project has had on the lives of the true victims of the faults of the criminal justice system.” Sponsorship levels include the Partner Sponsor at $ 2,500, which includes 10 tickets to the reception and comedy show, and the Friend Sponsor at $ 1,000, which includes four tickets to the event. Both sponsorship levels also include event recognition and promotional opportunities. To pledge a sponsorship or purchase tickets, please go to www.FloridaInnocence.org. To learn about additional sponsorship opportunities or more about the event, please contact Nellie King at 561-833-1084, or via email at [email protected] CriminalDefenseFla.com. Nellie L. King practices exclusively criminal defense work in State and Federal Courts throughout Florida and is a frequent lecturer on criminal law topics.  She is a Past President of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and serves on the Boards of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and Boys Town South Florida.   Page 13