HB 47B

A bill to be entitled
2An act providing an appropriation to compensate Wilton
3Dedge; providing authority to draw warrant; providing a
4limitation on the authority to draw the warrant; requiring
5a specified distribution of funds; providing a condition
6for payment; providing legislative intent; providing an
7effective date.
9     WHEREAS, Wilton Dedge was convicted of rape and imprisoned
10for 22 years, and
11     WHEREAS, the initial conviction was appealed and reversed,
13     WHEREAS, on retrial Wilton Dedge was again convicted, which
14conviction was affirmed on appeal, and
15     WHEREAS, the Circuit Court in the Eighteenth Judicial
16Circuit granted the state's motion to dismiss pending charges
17and discharge Wilton Dedge from custody based on DNA evidence
18that excluded Wilton Dedge as the perpetrator of the crime, and
19     WHEREAS, Wilton Dedge was in fact released on August 12,
202004, and
21     WHEREAS, Wilton Dedge and his parents filed suit in the
22Second Judicial Circuit requesting, among other things, a
23declaratory judgment that Mr. Dedge's liberty was taken by the
24government without compensation and requesting damages for the
25taking of Mr. Dedge's liberty and property, and
26     WHEREAS, the suit was dismissed by order of the Second
27Judicial Circuit court, which found that Mr. Dedge's parents
28have no standing to recover damages suffered by an adult child,
29that claims for damages from the state are banned by the
30doctrine of sovereign immunity, and that only the Legislature
31can address the issue of compensation under existing law, and
32     WHEREAS, Wilton Dedge has appealed the order to the First
33District Court of Appeal, Case No. 1D05-4288, which appeal is
34pending, and
35     WHEREAS, the Legislature recognizes that no system of
36justice is impervious to human error. "Given the myriad
37safeguards provided to assure a fair trial, and taking into
38account the reality of the human fallibility of the
39participants, there can be no such thing as an error-free,
40perfect trial, and ... the Constitution does not guarantee such
41a trial." United States v. Hasting, 461 U.S. 499(1983), and
42     WHEREAS, the Legislature acknowledges that the state's
43system of justice yielded an imperfect result with tragic
44consequences in this case, and
45     WHEREAS, the Legislature acknowledges that Wilton Dedge
46incurred significant losses unique to Wilton Dedge as a result
47of his conviction and physical confinement and that all the
48losses flowed from the fact that he was physically restrained
49and prevented from exercising the freedom to which all innocent
50citizens are entitled, and
51     WHEREAS, the Legislature acknowledges that Wilton Dedge
52performed valuable services for the state while imprisoned,
53including serving as a licensed waste-water plant operator, and
54     WHEREAS, the Legislature acknowledges that Wilton Dedge's
55parents incurred significant expenses related to his defense and
56related to the prolonged efforts to establish his innocence and
57secure his release from prison, and
58     WHEREAS, the Legislature is providing compensation to
59Wilton Dedge to acknowledge the fact that he suffered
60significant damages unique to Wilton Dedge which resulted from
61his physical restraint and the deprivation of freedom, and
62     WHEREAS, the Legislature is providing compensation to
63Wilton Dedge based on a moral desire to acknowledge his
64undisputed and actual innocence and not on a recognition of a
65constitutional right or violation, and
66     WHEREAS, the Legislature intends that compensation made
67pursuant to this act shall be the sole compensation to be
68provided by the state for any and all present and future claims
69arising out of the factual situation in connection with Wilton
70Dedge's conviction and imprisonment, and
71     WHEREAS, the Legislature apologizes to Wilton Dedge on
72behalf of the state, NOW, THEREFORE,
74Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
76     Section 1.  The facts stated in the preamble to this act
77are found and declared to be true.
78     Section 2.  There is appropriated from the General Revenue
79Fund the sum of $2,000,000 to be paid to Wilton Dedge under the
80conditions provided in this act.
81     Section 3.  The Chief Financial Officer is directed to draw
82a warrant to the State Board of Administration in the sum of
83$2,000,000 for the purposes provided in this act, the funds to
84be distributed in accordance with the letter of agreement
85between Wilton Dedge, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Gary Dedge, Sr., and
86the State Board of Administration. The State Board of
87Administration, the State Division of Retirement, and the State
88Department of Management Services are required to provide such
89support and assistance as directed by the terms of the letter of
90agreement and are authorized and directed to provide for health
91care insurance, including mental health and dental coverage for
92Wilton Dedge, the expense of which shall be borne by Wilton
93Dedge. Access to state education programs shall be provided on a
94scholarship basis without tuition or fees, provided that Wilton
95Dedge shall be required to meet and maintain the regular
96admission requirements of, and be registered at, such state
97educational program. After March 6, 2005, the Chief Financial
98Officer is no longer authorized to draw a warrant under this
100     Section 4.  The State Board of Administration shall
101disburse funds under the letter of agreement upon delivery by
102Wilton Dedge to the Chief Financial Officer, the State Board of
103Administration, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of
104the House of Representatives of all of the following:
105     (1)  An executed release and waiver on behalf of Wilton
106Dedge and his parents, heirs, successors, and assigns forever
107releasing the State of Florida and any agency, instrumentality,
108officer, employee, or political subdivision thereof or any other
109entity subject to the provisions of s. 768.28, Florida Statutes,
110from any and all present or future claims the claimant or any of
111his parents, heirs, successors, or assigns may have against such
112enumerated entities and arising out of the factual situation in
113connection with the conviction for which compensation is
115     (2)  An order from the court having jurisdiction of the
116legal claim filed by Wilton Dedge and his parents dismissing the
117claim with prejudice, provided that it is the intent of this
118legislation to allow Wilton Dedge to obtain full expungement of
119the judicial and executive branch records of his conviction as
120otherwise provided by law.
121     Section 5.  The Legislature shall not be deemed by this act
122to have waived any defense of sovereign immunity or to have
123increased the limits of liability on behalf of the state or any
124person or entity subject to the provisions of s. 768.28, Florida
125Statutes, or any other law.
126     Section 6.  This award is intended to provide sole
127compensation for any and all present and future claims arising
128out of the factual situation in connection with Wilton Dedge's
129conviction and imprisonment. No further award for attorney's
130fees, lobbying fees, costs, or other similar expenses will be
131made by the state.
132     Section 7.  This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.

CODING: Words stricken are deletions; words underlined are additions.