Florida Senate - 2020 (NP) SB 2 By Senator Baxley 12-00139-20 20202__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act for the relief of Scotty Bartek; providing an 3 appropriation to compensate Scotty Bartek for being 4 wrongfully incarcerated; providing a limitation on the 5 payment of attorney fees; providing an effective date. 6 7 WHEREAS, on September 9, 1991, Scotty Bartek was convicted 8 of two counts of sexual battery upon a child under 12 years of 9 age and was sentenced to two life sentences with a 25-year 10 minimum mandatory term on each count, and 11 WHEREAS, on October 5, 2009, Mr. Bartek filed a motion for 12 post-conviction relief, claiming newly discovered evidence in 13 the form of the victim’s recantation, and 14 WHEREAS, the victim informed the state that she had no 15 recollection of Mr. Bartek, her father, committing sexual 16 battery and that her mother had coached her to fabricate 17 testimony against Mr. Bartek, and 18 WHEREAS, on May 15, 2012, the Circuit Court for the Fifth 19 Judicial Circuit, in and for Marion County, granted Mr. Bartek’s 20 petition of post-conviction relief in Case No. 1991-CF-376, and 21 the State of Florida then appealed the circuit court’s order, 22 and 23 WHEREAS, if a circuit court’s order vacating a conviction 24 and sentence is appealed by the State of Florida, the order 25 becomes final upon the issuance of a mandate by the appellate 26 court, and 27 WHEREAS, on November 26, 2013, the Fifth District Court of 28 Appeal per curiam affirmed the circuit court’s order granting 29 Mr. Bartek’s petition and vacating the judgment and sentence in 30 Case No. 5D12-2399, and 31 WHEREAS, section 961.03(1)(b)1., Florida Statutes (2014), 32 requires a wrongfully convicted person to file a petition 33 seeking compensation within 90 days after the order vacating a 34 conviction and sentence becomes final, and 35 WHEREAS, on December 20, 2013, after more than 22 years of 36 wrongful incarceration, Mr. Bartek was exonerated and the 37 mandate was issued by the district court of appeal, giving him 38 until March 20, 2014, to timely file his petition seeking a 39 determination of eligibility for compensation, and 40 WHEREAS, Mr. Bartek’s case was scheduled for a retrial in 41 March 2014, and 42 WHEREAS, on February 27, 2014, the state entered a nolle 43 prosequi, dismissing its charges against Mr. Bartek, and 44 indicated that it did not have sufficient evidence to establish 45 beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Bartek committed sexual 46 battery, and 47 WHEREAS, on May 20, 2014, within 90 days after the state’s 48 filing of the nolle prosequi, Mr. Bartek filed a petition 49 seeking compensation for wrongful incarceration, and 50 WHEREAS, on September 8, 2014, counsel for Mr. Bartek filed 51 a supplemental memorandum of law alleging that Mr. Bartek is 52 “eligible for compensation” under chapter 961, Florida Statutes 53 (2014), and 54 WHEREAS, counsel for Mr. Bartek alleged that although Mr. 55 Bartek was disqualified from seeking compensation by s. 56 961.04(1), Florida Statutes (2014), the statute did not afford 57 him equal protection under the law, in violation of the United 58 States Constitution and the State Constitution, because the 59 statute unconstitutionally discriminated between persons 60 wrongfully incarcerated who had prior felony convictions and 61 those persons who did not have prior felony convictions, and 62 WHEREAS, Mr. Bartek was convicted before his wrongful 63 sexual battery conviction and incarceration on one count of the 64 sale of cannabis, a nonviolent felony of the third degree, and 65 WHEREAS, the courts did not consider Mr. Bartek’s equal 66 protection argument, but the Legislature narrowed the types of 67 disqualifying felonies in its passage of chapter 2017-120, Laws 68 of Florida, so that wrongfully incarcerated persons would be 69 disqualified if they committed a violent felony before their 70 wrongful conviction and incarceration and so that those persons 71 who committed a nonviolent felony would no longer be 72 disqualified, and 73 WHEREAS, Mr. Bartek’s counsel argued that the Legislature 74 did not intend to require a defendant seeking compensation for 75 wrongful incarceration to file a petition while the state could 76 pursue charges against him or her, and 77 WHEREAS, on March 3, 2015, the circuit court dismissed Mr. 78 Bartek’s petition seeking compensation because it was not timely 79 filed, and on August 12, 2016, the District Court of Appeal 80 affirmed the trial court’s dismissal, and 81 WHEREAS, the Legislature has determined that it is 82 appropriate to compensate individuals who have been wrongly 83 incarcerated, and 84 WHEREAS, if Mr. Bartek had met the requirements of chapter 85 961, Florida Statutes (2014), he would have been entitled to 86 compensation at a rate of $50,000 for each year of wrongful 87 incarceration, prorated to account for a portion of a year 88 served; a waiver of tuition and fees for up to 120 hours of 89 instruction at a career center, community college, or state 90 university; a refund of the amount of any fine, penalty, or 91 court costs imposed which he paid; and a refund of the amount of 92 reasonable attorney fees and expenses which he incurred and 93 paid, and 94 WHEREAS, Mr. Bartek was wrongfully incarcerated for 22 95 years and 242 days, which amounts to $1,133,150.69, and 96 WHEREAS, the estimated cost of attendance for a full-time 97 undergraduate Florida resident to attend a state university for 98 4 years is approximately $24,000, and 99 WHEREAS, Mr. Bartek paid an estimated $500 in court costs 100 and fines, and 101 WHEREAS, Mr. Bartek’s defense attorney charged him $40,000 102 for legal services relating to the charges described in this 103 case, and 104 WHEREAS, these figures amount to an estimated total of 105 $1,197,650.69, which is the amount Mr. Bartek seeks under this 106 claim bill, NOW, THEREFORE, 107 108 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 109 110 Section 1. The facts stated in the preamble to this act are 111 found and declared to be true. 112 Section 2. The sum of $1,197,650.69 is appropriated from 113 the General Revenue Fund to the Department of Legal Affairs for 114 the relief of Scotty Bartek for his wrongful incarceration. 115 Section 3. The Chief Financial Officer is directed to draw 116 a warrant in favor of Scotty Bartek in the sum of $1,197,650.69 117 upon funds of the Department of Legal Affairs in the State 118 Treasury and to pay the same out of such funds in the State 119 Treasury. 120 Section 4. The amount awarded under this act is intended to 121 provide the sole compensation for all present and future claims 122 arising out of the wrongful incarceration of Scotty Bartek as 123 described in this act. The total amount paid for attorney fees, 124 including the $40,000 reimbursement for Mr. Bartek’s defense 125 attorney fees, may not exceed 25 percent of the amount awarded 126 under this act. 127 Section 5. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.