Tuesday, February 15, 2011 at 6:28 a.m.
More jails would be empty if DNA evidence keeps clearing inmates.
If you've ever felt as though the powers that be have dealt you an unfair hand, stop your belly-aching. Try serving more than a decade in prison for a crime you didn't commit -- the harsh reality for a dozen Florida inmates recently released and cleared through DNA evidence, most after serving more than 20 years in prison.
Further proof that justice isn't always so sweet: Only two of the 12 inmates wrongfully incarcerated have been given restitution by the State of Florida, while
a third has gone on to sue the Broward County Sheriff's Office. You can only imagine the rest will follow suit.
Here are a few people who deserve to be recognized for having done nothing wrong. They are:
3. WILTON DEDGE
Dedge received $2 million from the state after being unfairly pinned with raping a Brevard County woman after breaking and entering her residence. He served 22 years behind bars due to now-discredited evidence found by a tracking dog at the victim's residence.
2. ALAN CROTZER
Crotzer received $1.25 million for his wrongful incarceration over 30 years ago. Crotzer was erroneously identified by rape victims as one of three men who forced their way into a Tampa home, robbing it and kidnapping and raping a 38-year-old woman and 12-year-old girl. He served 24 years before earning the right to a DNA test in 2003, which proved him innocent.
1. JERRY FRANK TOWNSEND
Townsend, who is mentally retarded, served 21 years after giving a false confession to a series of rapes and murders that occurred over the course of five years, from 1973 to 1979. Townsend was later cleared through DNA evidence, which later helped convict serial murderer and rapist Eddie Lee Mosley. So far, Townsend has received no payout, but has sued both the Broward and Miami-Dade sheriff's offices for a combined total of $4.2 million dollars.
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