Florida Senate - 2021 (NP) SB 28 By Senator Cruz 18-00127-21 202128__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act providing for the relief of Clemente Aguirre 3 Jarquin for his wrongful incarceration; providing an 4 appropriation to the Department of Financial Services 5 for a specified purpose; directing the Chief Financial 6 Officer to draw a warrant for the purchase of an 7 annuity contract in a specified amount in Mr. Aguirre 8 Jarquin’s name within a specified timeframe; requiring 9 the Chief Financial Officer to execute necessary 10 agreements; providing for the waiver of certain 11 tuition and fees for Mr. Aguirre-Jarquin, subject to 12 specified requirements; specifying conditions for 13 payment; providing that the act does not waive certain 14 defenses or increase the state’s limits of liability; 15 providing a limitation on the payment of compensation; 16 prohibiting any further award to include certain fees 17 and costs; providing an effective date. 18 19 WHEREAS, Clemente Aguirre-Jarquin was arrested on June 17, 20 2004, was tried and convicted of two counts of first-degree 21 murder and one count of burglary with an assault or battery on 22 February 28, 2006, and was sentenced to death on June 30, 2006, 23 and 24 WHEREAS, Mr. Aguirre-Jarquin has always maintained his 25 innocence, and 26 WHEREAS, Mr. Aguirre-Jarquin spent 10 years and 8 months on 27 death row, and 28 WHEREAS, new DNA, forensic, and testimonial evidence 29 discovered after his 2006 conviction and death sentence 30 powerfully show Mr. Aguirre-Jarquin’s innocence and point to 31 another suspect whose DNA was found at the crime scene and who 32 has confessed to these crimes on multiple occasions, and 33 WHEREAS, based on that new evidence, the Florida Supreme 34 Court in October 2016 unanimously reversed an order from the 35 Circuit Court for the 18th Judicial Circuit which had denied Mr. 36 Aguirre-Jarquin’s motion for a new trial, and 37 WHEREAS, the Florida Supreme Court vacated Mr. Aguirre 38 Jarquin’s convictions and death sentence, and remanded the case 39 to the Circuit Court for the 18th Judicial Circuit for a new 40 trial, and 41 WHEREAS, Mr. Aguirre-Jarquin spent another 2 years 42 incarcerated while the state attorney’s office continued to 43 press charges after the remand to the Circuit Court for the 18th 44 Judicial Circuit, during which the state provided no opportunity 45 for Mr. Aguirre-Jarquin to be released on bail pending trial, 46 and 47 WHEREAS, on November 5, 2018, with jury selection still in 48 progress before the new trial and after the presentation of 49 pretrial testimony by witnesses whom the state intended to call 50 at trial and who supported the defense’s position that the 51 suspect whose DNA was found at the crime scene was the person 52 solely responsible for the murders in question, the state orally 53 pronounced a nolle prosequi as related to the retrial of Mr. 54 Aguirre-Jarquin, and 55 WHEREAS, Mr. Aguirre-Jarquin finally was released from the 56 state’s custody on November 5, 2018, after spending 14 years, 4 57 months, and 19 days—5,255 consecutive days—in the custody of the 58 state, and 59 WHEREAS, there is no credible evidence of Mr. Aguirre 60 Jarquin’s guilt, and, likewise, there is clear and convincing 61 evidence of his innocence, and 62 WHEREAS, within 90 days after his release from custody, Mr. 63 Aguirre-Jarquin filed a petition to determine his eligibility 64 for compensation under chapter 961, Florida Statutes, but the 65 Circuit Court for the 18th Judicial Circuit ruled that the 66 petition was untimely because it was not filed within 90 days of 67 the Florida Supreme Court’s decision vacating his convictions 68 and remanding the case to the circuit court for a new trial, 69 despite the fact that Mr. Aguirre-Jarquin was not released from 70 incarceration following that ruling, and 71 WHEREAS, the Legislature acknowledges that the state’s 72 system of justice yielded an imperfect result that had tragic 73 consequences for Mr. Aguirre-Jarquin, and 74 WHEREAS, the Legislature acknowledges that, as a result of 75 his continuous physical confinement, Mr. Aguirre-Jarquin 76 suffered significant physical, mental, and emotional damages 77 that are unique to him, in that he was physically restrained, 78 often placed in solitary confinement, and prevented from 79 exercising the freedom to which all innocent citizens are 80 entitled, and 81 WHEREAS, the Legislature is providing compensation to Mr. 82 Aguirre-Jarquin to acknowledge the fact that he suffered 83 significant damages that are unique to him, and 84 WHEREAS, the Legislature apologizes to Mr. Aguirre-Jarquin 85 on behalf of the state, NOW, THEREFORE, 86 87 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 88 89 Section 1. The facts stated in the preamble to this act are 90 found and declared to be true. 91 Section 2. The sum of $720,000 is appropriated from the 92 General Revenue Fund to the Department of Financial Services 93 under the conditions provided in this act. 94 Section 3. The Chief Financial Officer is directed to draw 95 a warrant in the sum specified in section 2 for the purposes 96 provided in this act. 97 Section 4. The Department of Financial Services shall pay 98 the funds appropriated under this act to an insurance company or 99 other financial institution admitted and authorized to issue 100 annuity contracts in this state and selected by Mr. Aguirre 101 Jarquin to purchase an annuity. The Chief Financial Officer 102 shall execute all necessary agreements to implement this act and 103 to maximize the benefit to Mr. Aguirre-Jarquin. 104 Section 5. Tuition and fees for Mr. Aguirre-Jarquin are 105 waived for up to a total of 120 hours of instruction at any 106 career center established pursuant to s. 1001.44, Florida 107 Statutes, Florida College System institution established under 108 part III of chapter 1004, Florida Statutes, or state university. 109 Such waiver is dependent upon Mr. Aguirre-Jarquin’s meeting and 110 maintaining the regular admission requirements of, and being 111 registered at, such career center, institution, or state 112 university and making satisfactory academic progress as defined 113 by the educational institution in which he is enrolled. 114 Section 6. The Chief Financial Officer shall purchase the 115 annuity as required by this act within 20 days of delivery by 116 Mr. Aguirre-Jarquin of his election of annuity, as set forth in 117 section 4. 118 Section 7. The Legislature does not waive any defense of 119 sovereign immunity or increase the limits of liability on behalf 120 of the state or any person or entity that is subject to s. 121 768.28, Florida Statutes, or any other law. 122 Section 8. This award is intended to provide the sole 123 compensation for all present and future claims arising out of 124 the factual situation described in this act which resulted in 125 Mr. Aguirre-Jarquin’s arrest, conviction, and incarceration. 126 There may not be any further award to include attorney fees, 127 lobbying fees, costs, or other similar expenses to Mr. Aguirre 128 Jarquin by the state or any agency, instrumentality, or 129 political subdivision thereof, or any other entity, including 130 any county constitutional officer, officer, or employee, in 131 state or federal court. 132 Section 9. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.