Florida Senate - 2022 (NP) SB 50 By Senator Jones 35-00188-22 202250__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act for the relief of Leonard Cure; providing an 3 appropriation to compensate him for being wrongfully 4 incarcerated for 16 years; directing the Chief 5 Financial Officer to draw a warrant payable directly 6 to Mr. Cure; requiring the Chief Financial Officer to 7 pay the directed funds without requiring that Mr. Cure 8 sign a liability release; providing for the waiver of 9 certain tuition and fees for Mr. Cure; declaring that 10 the Legislature does not waive certain defenses or 11 increase the state’s limits of liability with respect 12 to this act; prohibiting funds awarded under this act 13 to Mr. Cure from being used or paid for attorney or 14 lobbying fees; prohibiting Mr. Cure from submitting a 15 compensation application under certain provisions upon 16 his receipt of payment under this act; requiring 17 specific reimbursement to the state should a civil 18 award be issued subsequent to Mr. Cure’s receipt of 19 payment under this act; requiring Mr. Cure to notify 20 the Department of Legal Affairs upon filing certain 21 civil actions; requiring the department to file a 22 specified notice under certain circumstances; 23 providing that certain benefits are vacated upon 24 specified findings; providing an effective date. 25 26 WHEREAS, Leonard Cure was arrested on November 20, 2003, 27 for the November 10, 2003, robbery of a Dania Beach Walgreens 28 drug store and was convicted on November 3, 2004, of armed 29 robbery with a firearm and aggravated assault with a firearm, 30 and 31 WHEREAS, Mr. Cure was sentenced to life imprisonment and 32 spent 16 years incarcerated, and 33 WHEREAS, Mr. Cure has maintained his innocence since his 34 arrest and for the entirety of his incarceration, and 35 WHEREAS, on April 2, 2020, the Conviction Review Unit for 36 the State Attorney’s Office for the 17th Judicial Circuit issued 37 a 14-page “Conviction Review Unit Memorandum” recommending the 38 modification of Mr. Cure’s sentence to allow for his immediate 39 release while the Conviction Review Unit investigated Mr. Cure’s 40 case, and 41 WHEREAS, on April 14, 2020, the Circuit Court for the 17th 42 Judicial Circuit modified Mr. Cure’s sentence to time served, 43 and Mr. Cure was released, and 44 WHEREAS, on October 16, 2020, the Conviction Review Unit 45 for the State Attorney’s Office for the 17th Judicial Circuit 46 issued a “Conviction Review Unit Addendum Memorandum with 47 Independent Review Panel’s Findings” reaching the conclusion 48 that the court should “vacate the defendant’s judgment and 49 sentence and enter a nolle prosequi as to both counts” due to 50 the finding by the Independent Review Panel that “the case 51 against Mr. Cure is so weak that it gives rise to a reasonable 52 doubt as to his culpability, and that he is most likely 53 innocent,” and 54 WHEREAS, on December 11, 2020, the Circuit Court for the 55 17th Judicial Circuit issued, with the concurrence of the state, 56 an Agreed Order Vacating Judgment and Sentence on the basis that 57 Mr. Cure “is most likely innocent,” and 58 WHEREAS, on December 14, 2020, as the result of the 59 Conviction Review Unit report, the state filed a Notice of Nolle 60 Prosequi, and Mr. Cure was exonerated, and 61 WHEREAS, the Legislature acknowledges that the state’s 62 system of justice yielded an imperfect result that had tragic 63 consequences in this case, and 64 WHEREAS, the Legislature acknowledges that, as a result of 65 his physical confinement, Mr. Cure suffered significant damages 66 that are unique to him, and that the damages are due to the fact 67 that he was physically restrained and prevented from exercising 68 the freedom to which all innocent citizens are entitled, and 69 WHEREAS, before his conviction for the aforementioned 70 crimes, Mr. Cure had prior convictions for unrelated felonies, 71 and 72 WHEREAS, due to his prior felony convictions, Mr. Cure is 73 ineligible for compensation under chapter 961, Florida Statutes, 74 and 75 WHEREAS, the Legislature apologizes to Mr. Cure on behalf 76 of the state, NOW, THEREFORE, 77 78 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 79 80 Section 1. The facts stated in the preamble to this act are 81 found and declared to be true. 82 Section 2. The sum of $817,000 is appropriated from the 83 General Revenue Fund to the Department of Financial Services for 84 the relief of Leonard Cure for his wrongful incarceration. The 85 Chief Financial Officer is directed to draw a warrant in favor 86 of Mr. Cure in the sum of $817,000 payable directly to Leonard 87 Cure. 88 Section 3. The Chief Financial Officer shall pay the funds 89 directed by this act without requiring that the wrongfully 90 incarcerated person, Mr. Cure, sign a liability release. 91 Section 4. Tuition and fees for Mr. Cure shall be waived 92 for up to a total of 120 hours of instruction at any career 93 center established pursuant to s. 1001.44, Florida Statutes, any 94 Florida College System institution established under part III of 95 chapter 1004, Florida Statutes, or any state university. For any 96 educational benefit made, Mr. Cure must meet and maintain the 97 regular admission and registration requirements of the career 98 center, institution, or state university and make satisfactory 99 academic progress as defined by the educational institution in 100 which he is enrolled. 101 Section 5. With respect to the relief for Mr. Cure as 102 described in this act, the Legislature does not waive any 103 defense of sovereign immunity or increase the limits of 104 liability on behalf of the state or any person or entity that is 105 subject to s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, or any other law. Funds 106 awarded under this act to Mr. Cure may not be used or be paid 107 for attorney fees or lobbying fees related to this claim. 108 Section 6. Upon his receipt of payment under this act, Mr. 109 Cure may not submit an application for compensation under 110 chapter 961, Florida Statutes. 111 Section 7. If, after the time that monetary compensation is 112 paid under this act, a court enters a monetary judgment in favor 113 of Mr. Cure in a civil action related to his wrongful 114 incarceration, or Mr. Cure enters into a settlement agreement 115 with the state or any political subdivision thereof related to 116 his wrongful incarceration, Mr. Cure must reimburse the state 117 for the monetary compensation awarded under this act, less any 118 sums paid for attorney fees or costs incurred in litigating the 119 civil action or obtaining the settlement agreement. A 120 reimbursement required under this section may not exceed the 121 amount of monetary award Mr. Cure received for damages in the 122 civil action or settlement agreement. The court must include in 123 the order of judgment an award to the state of any amount 124 required to be deducted under this section. Claimant Leonard 125 Cure must notify the Department of Legal Affairs upon filing any 126 such civil action. 127 Section 8. The department must then file a notice of 128 payment of monetary compensation in the civil action, and the 129 notice shall constitute a lien upon any judgment or settlement 130 recovered under the civil action which is equal to the sum of 131 monetary compensation paid to the claimant under this act, less 132 any attorney fees and litigation costs. 133 Section 9. If any future judicial determination concludes 134 that Mr. Cure, by DNA evidence or otherwise, participated in any 135 manner in the armed robbery and aggravated assault for which he 136 was incarcerated, the unused benefits to which he is entitled 137 under this act are vacated. 138 Section 10. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.