HB 0047BCS


1The Fiscal Council recommends the following:
3     Council/Committee Substitute
4     Remove the entire bill and insert:
A bill to be entitled
7An act providing an appropriation to compensate Wilton
8Dedge; providing authority to draw warrant; providing a
9limitation on the authority to draw the warrant; requiring
10the execution of a specified assignment; providing for
11waiver of specified tuition and fees; providing conditions
12for payment; providing legislative intent; providing an
13effective date.
15     WHEREAS, Wilton Dedge was convicted of rape and imprisoned
16for 22 years, and
17     WHEREAS, the initial conviction was appealed and reversed,
19     WHEREAS, on retrial Wilton Dedge was again convicted, which
20conviction was affirmed on appeal, and
21     WHEREAS, the Circuit Court in the Eighteenth Judicial
22Circuit granted the state's motion to dismiss pending charges
23and discharge Wilton Dedge from custody based on DNA evidence
24that excluded Wilton Dedge as the perpetrator of the crime, and
25     WHEREAS, Wilton Dedge was in fact released on August 12,
262004, and
27     WHEREAS, Wilton Dedge and his parents filed suit in the
28Second Judicial Circuit requesting, among other things, a
29declaratory judgment that Mr. Dedge's liberty was taken by the
30government without compensation and requesting damages for the
31taking of Mr. Dedge's liberty, and
32     WHEREAS, the suit was dismissed by order of the Second
33Judicial Circuit court, which found that claims for damages from
34the state are banned by the doctrine of sovereign immunity and
35that only the Legislature can address the issue of compensation
36under existing law, and
37     WHEREAS, Wilton Dedge has appealed the order to the First
38District Court of Appeal, Case No. 1D05-4288, and
39     WHEREAS, the Legislature recognizes that no system of
40justice is impervious to human error. "Given the myriad
41safeguards provided to assure a fair trial, and taking into
42account the reality of the human fallibility of the
43participants, there can be no such thing as an error-free,
44perfect trial, and ... the Constitution does not guarantee such
45a trial." United States v. Hasting, 461 U.S. 499(1983), and
46     WHEREAS, the Legislature acknowledges that the state's
47system of justice yielded an imperfect result with tragic
48consequences in this case, and
49     WHEREAS, the Legislature acknowledges that Wilton Dedge
50incurred significant damages unique to Wilton Dedge as a result
51of his conviction and physical confinement and that all the
52damages flowed from the fact that he was physically restrained
53and prevented from exercising the freedom to which all innocent
54citizens are entitled, and
55     WHEREAS, the Legislature acknowledges that Wilton Dedge
56performed valuable services for the state while imprisoned,
57including serving as a licensed wastewater plant operator, and
58     WHEREAS, the Legislature acknowledges that Wilton Dedge's
59parents incurred significant expenses related to his defense and
60related to the prolonged efforts to establish his innocence and
61secure his release from prison, and
62     WHEREAS, the Legislature is providing compensation to
63Wilton Dedge to acknowledge the fact that he suffered
64significant damages unique to Wilton Dedge which resulted from
65his physical restraint and the deprivation of freedom, and
66     WHEREAS, the Legislature is providing compensation to
67Wilton Dedge based on a moral desire to acknowledge his
68undisputed and actual innocence and not on a recognition of a
69constitutional right or violation, and
70     WHEREAS, the Legislature intends that compensation made
71pursuant to this act shall be the sole compensation to be
72provided by the state for any and all present and future claims
73arising out of the factual situation in connection with Wilton
74Dedge's conviction and imprisonment, and
75     WHEREAS, the Legislature apologizes to Wilton Dedge on
76behalf of the state, NOW, THEREFORE,
78Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
80     Section 1.  The facts stated in the preamble to this act
81are found and declared to be true.
82     Section 2.  There is appropriated from the General Revenue
83Fund the sum of $2,000,000 to the Department of Financial
84Services under the conditions provided in this act.
85     Section 3.  The Chief Financial Officer is directed to draw
86a warrant to the Department of Financial Services in the sum of
87$2,000,000 for the purposes provided in this act. After March 6,
882006, the Chief Financial Officer is no longer authorized to
89draw a warrant under this section.
90     Section 4.  On behalf of the State of Florida, the
91Department of Financial Services is authorized to execute a
92qualified assignment within the meaning of s. 130(c) of the
93Internal Revenue Code, with an assignee acceptable to Wilton
94Dedge. The Department of Financial Services is authorized to
95execute all necessary agreements to implement this act.
96     Section 5.  Tuition and fees shall be waived for up to a
97total of 120 hours of instruction at any career center
98established pursuant to s. 1001.44, Florida Statutes, at any
99community college established under part III of chapter 1004,
100Florida Statutes, or any state university. For any educational
101benefit made, Wilton Dedge is required to meet and maintain the
102regular admission requirements of, and be registered at, such
103career center, community college, or state university and make
104satisfactory academic progress as defined by the educational
105institution in which the claimant is enrolled.
106     Section 6.  The Chief Financial Officer shall execute the
107qualified assignment agreement as required by this act upon
108delivery by Wilton Dedge to the Chief Financial Officer, the
109Department of Financial Services, the President of the Senate,
110and the Speaker of the House of Representatives of all of the
112     (1)  An executed release and waiver on behalf of Wilton
113Dedge and his parents, heirs, successors, and assigns forever
114releasing the State of Florida and any agency, instrumentality,
115officer, employee, or political subdivision thereof or any other
116entity subject to the provisions of s. 768.28, Florida Statutes,
117from any and all present or future claims or declaratory relief
118the claimant or any of his parents, heirs, successors, or
119assigns may have against such enumerated entities and arising
120out of the factual situation in connection with the conviction
121for which compensation is awarded. However, declaratory action
122to obtain judicial expungement of Wilton Dedge's judicial and
123executive branch records as otherwise provided by law is not
124prohibited by this act.
125     (2)  An order from the court having jurisdiction of the
126legal claim filed by Wilton Dedge and his parents dismissing the
127claim with prejudice.
128     Section 7.  The Legislature shall not be deemed by this act
129to have waived any defense of sovereign immunity or to have
130increased the limits of liability on behalf of the state or any
131person or entity subject to the provisions of s. 768.28, Florida
132Statutes, or any other law.
133     Section 8.  This award is intended to provide the sole
134compensation for any and all present and future claims arising
135out of the factual situation in connection with Wilton Dedge's
136conviction and imprisonment. No further award for attorney's
137fees, lobbying fees, costs, or other similar expenses will be
138made by the state.
139     Section 9.  This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.

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