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.
   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,
   87  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   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.