Florida Senate - 2021                             (NP)    SB 504
       By Senator Polsky
       29-00570A-21                                           2021504__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act for the relief of Robert Earl DuBoise;
    3         providing an appropriation to compensate him for being
    4         wrongfully incarcerated for almost 37 years; directing
    5         the Chief Financial Officer to draw a warrant payable
    6         directly to Mr. DuBoise; providing for the waiver of
    7         certain tuition and fees for Mr. DuBoise; requiring
    8         the Chief Financial Officer to pay the directed funds
    9         without requiring that Mr. DuBoise sign a liability
   10         release; declaring that the Legislature does not waive
   11         certain defenses or increase the state’s limits of
   12         liability with respect to this act; prohibiting funds
   13         awarded under this act to Mr. DuBoise from being used
   14         or paid for attorney or lobbying fees; prohibiting Mr.
   15         DuBoise from submitting a compensation application
   16         under certain provisions upon his receipt of payment
   17         under the act; requiring specific reimbursement to the
   18         state should a civil award be issued subsequent to Mr.
   19         DuBoise’s receipt of payment under the act; requiring
   20         Mr. DuBoise to notify the Department of Legal Affairs
   21         upon filing certain civil actions; requiring the
   22         department to file a specified notice under certain
   23         circumstances; providing that certain benefits are
   24         vacated upon specified findings; providing an
   25         effective date.
   27         WHEREAS, Robert Earl DuBoise was arrested on October 22,
   28  1983, for the August 18, 1983, rape and murder of a Tampa Bay
   29  woman and was convicted of capital murder and attempted sexual
   30  battery on March 7, 1985, and
   31         WHEREAS, Mr. DuBoise spent 3 years on death row, and
   32         WHEREAS, on March 10, 1988, the Florida Supreme Court
   33  issued a mandate vacating Mr. DuBoise’s death sentence, and on
   34  April 4, 1988, he was resentenced to life imprisonment for
   35  murder and a consecutive 15-year sentence for attempted sexual
   36  battery, and
   37         WHEREAS, Mr. DuBoise has maintained his innocence since his
   38  arrest and for the entirety of his incarceration for the past 37
   39  years, and
   40         WHEREAS, on September 11, 2020, the Conviction Review Unit
   41  (CRU) for the State Attorney’s Office for the 13th Judicial
   42  Circuit issued a 49-page “CRU Summary Fact-Finding Report” based
   43  on a comprehensive investigation spanning nearly 1 year,
   44  culminating in the conclusion that “Robert DuBoise’s conviction
   45  should be vacated and Robert DuBoise be exonerated of the
   46  charges against him,” and
   47         WHEREAS, on September 14, 2020, the Circuit Court for the
   48  13th Judicial Circuit granted, with the concurrence of the
   49  state, a motion for postconviction relief, vacated the judgment
   50  and sentence of Mr. DuBoise, and ordered a new trial, and
   51         WHEREAS, the CRU report found that there was no credible
   52  evidence of Mr. DuBoise’s guilt and, likewise, that there was
   53  clear and convincing evidence of his innocence, and
   54         WHEREAS, on September 14, 2020, as the result of the CRU
   55  report, the state orally pronounced a nolle prosequi with regard
   56  to the retrial of Mr. DuBoise, and
   57         WHEREAS, the Legislature acknowledges that the state’s
   58  system of justice yielded an imperfect result that had tragic
   59  consequences in this case, and
   60         WHEREAS, the Legislature acknowledges that, as a result of
   61  his physical confinement, Mr. DuBoise suffered significant
   62  damages that are unique to him, and that the damages are due to
   63  the fact that he was physically restrained and prevented from
   64  exercising the freedom to which all innocent citizens are
   65  entitled, and
   66         WHEREAS, before his conviction for the aforementioned
   67  crimes, Mr. DuBoise had prior convictions for unrelated
   68  nonviolent felonies, and
   69         WHEREAS, because of his prior nonviolent felony
   70  convictions, Mr. DuBoise is ineligible for compensation under
   71  chapter 961, Florida Statutes, and
   72         WHEREAS, the Legislature apologizes to Mr. DuBoise on
   73  behalf of the state, NOW, THEREFORE,
   75  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   77         Section 1. The facts stated in the preamble to this act are
   78  found and declared to be true.
   79         Section 2. The sum of $1.85 million is appropriated from
   80  the General Revenue Fund to the Department of Financial Services
   81  for the relief of Mr. DuBoise for his wrongful incarceration.
   82  The Chief Financial Officer is directed to draw a warrant in the
   83  sum of $1.85 million payable directly to Robert Earl DuBoise.
   84         Section 3. Tuition and fees for Mr. DuBoise shall be waived
   85  for up to a total of 120 hours of instruction at any career
   86  center established pursuant to s. 1001.44, Florida Statutes,
   87  Florida College System institution established under part III of
   88  chapter 1004, Florida Statutes, or state university. For any
   89  educational benefit made, Mr. DuBoise must meet and maintain the
   90  regular admission and registration requirements of the career
   91  center, institution, or state university and make satisfactory
   92  academic progress as defined by the educational institution in
   93  which he is enrolled.
   94         Section 4. The Chief Financial Officer shall pay the funds
   95  directed by this act without requiring that the wrongfully
   96  incarcerated person, Mr. DuBoise, sign a liability release.
   97         Section 5. With respect to the relief for Mr. DuBoise as
   98  described in this act, the Legislature does not waive any
   99  defense of sovereign immunity or increase the limits of
  100  liability on behalf of the state or any person or entity that is
  101  subject to s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, or any other law. Funds
  102  awarded under this act to Mr. DuBoise may not be used or be paid
  103  for attorney fees or lobbying fees related to this claim.
  104         Section 6. Upon his receipt of payment under this act, Mr.
  105  DuBoise may not submit an application for compensation under
  106  chapter 961, Florida Statutes.
  107         Section 7. If, after the time that monetary compensation is
  108  paid under this act, a court enters a monetary judgment in favor
  109  of Mr. DuBoise in a civil action related to his wrongful
  110  incarceration, or Mr. DuBoise enters into a settlement agreement
  111  with the state or any political subdivision thereof related to
  112  his wrongful incarceration, Mr. DuBoise shall reimburse the
  113  state for the monetary compensation awarded under this act, less
  114  any sums paid for attorney fees or costs incurred in litigating
  115  the civil action or obtaining the settlement agreement. A
  116  reimbursement required under this section may not exceed the
  117  amount of monetary award Mr. DuBoise received for damages in the
  118  civil action or settlement agreement. The court must include in
  119  the order of judgment an award to the state of any amount
  120  required to be deducted under this section. Claimant Mr. DuBoise
  121  must notify the Department of Legal Affairs upon filing any such
  122  civil action.
  123         Section 8. The department must then file a notice of
  124  payment of monetary compensation in the civil action, and the
  125  notice shall constitute a lien upon any judgment or settlement
  126  recovered under the civil action which is equal to the sum of
  127  monetary compensation paid to the claimant under this act, less
  128  any attorney fees and litigation costs.
  129         Section 9. If any future judicial determination determines
  130  that Mr. DuBoise, by DNA evidence or otherwise, participated in
  131  any manner in the death or sexual battery for which he was
  132  incarcerated, the unused benefits to which he is entitled under
  133  this act are vacated.
  134         Section 10. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.