PBCBA BAR BULLETINS PBCBA Bulletin - January 2020 - Page 8

In January 2018, Melissa Nelson’s office created the first conviction integrity unit (CIU) in Florida. There are now two additional units in Florida—the 13th Judicial Circuit under State Attorney Andrew Warren, and the 9th Judicial Circuit under State Attorney Aramis Ayala. According to Nelson’s CIR report, the purpose of the division is to “review and investigate claims of actual innocence, and provide analysis and assistance to address the prevention of errors/issues which might lead to a miscarriage of justice.” Additionally, the State Attorney’s Office for the Fourth Judicial Circuit recognizes “When an innocent man or woman is convicted and the guilty person is not held accountable, justice as a whole suffers.” The recognition by some State Attorney’s Offices that wrongful convictions represent injustice everyone should confront and support is an important, and major, shift in prosecutorial thinking. It is never too late to right a wrong. This fight requires your financial support in order to ensure the continued progress of IPF. There are worthy causes within the legal profession involving financial inequities and reforms which seek to even the playing field for civil litigants in their quest for remuneration. But, there is no more important award then the award of freedom to someone who has spent decades in prison for a crime they did not commit. Your contribution is in human capital, in the forgotten. There are many more in Florida prisons awaiting relief for wrongful convictions. Annually, more than 1,000 requests for inmate assistance are received by IPF, the organization committed to finding and freeing the innocent in Florida prisons, helping exonerees transition back into a changed society, and working to reform the criminal justice system. However, operating entirely from grants and donations, IPF cannot function without community support. Join the Innocence Project of Florida, the Palm Beach County Bar Association, and Florida exonerees who have benefitted from the work of IPF - and your contributions - PBCBA BAR BULLETIN 8 in supporting this event. The money raised goes directly to fund the litigation support for these cases, including critical DNA testing, which alone averages $ 5,000 per case. Please consider a firm or individual sponsorship to the Fourth Annual Stand Up for Innocence Comedy Event to be held February 6, 2020, at 7:00 p.m. at the Kelsey Theater in Lake Park. To pledge a sponsorship, inclusive of tickets to the event, or make a donation to IPF, 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 Nellie@CriminalDefenseFla. com. 1 To learn more about the Innocence Project of Florida, go to www.Florida Innocence.org or view IPF’s video, Unlock the Truth: http:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=yoov5aNwn9U.