Florida Senate - 2022                              (NP)    SB 52
       By Senator Brandes
       24-00125-22                                             202252__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act for the relief of Robert Earl DuBoise;
    3         providing an appropriation to compensate Mr. DuBoise
    4         for being wrongfully incarcerated for almost 37 years;
    5         directing the Chief Financial Officer to draw a
    6         warrant payable directly to Mr. DuBoise; providing for
    7         the waiver of certain tuition and fees for Mr.
    8         DuBoise; requiring the Chief Financial Officer to pay
    9         the directed funds without requiring that Mr. DuBoise
   10         sign a liability release; declaring that the
   11         Legislature does not waive certain defenses or
   12         increase the state’s limits of liability with respect
   13         to this act; prohibiting funds awarded under this act
   14         to Mr. DuBoise from being used or paid for specified
   15         attorney or lobbying fees; prohibiting Mr. DuBoise
   16         from submitting a compensation application under
   17         certain provisions upon his receipt of payment under
   18         the act; requiring specific reimbursement to the state
   19         should a civil award be issued subsequent to Mr.
   20         DuBoise’s receipt of payment under the act; requiring
   21         Mr. DuBoise to notify the Department of Legal Affairs
   22         upon filing certain civil actions; requiring the
   23         department to file a specified notice under certain
   24         circumstances; providing that certain benefits are
   25         vacated upon specified findings; providing an
   26         effective date.
   28         WHEREAS, Robert Earl DuBoise was arrested on October 22,
   29  1983, for the August 18, 1983, rape and murder of a Tampa Bay
   30  woman and was convicted of capital murder and attempted sexual
   31  battery on March 7, 1985, and
   32         WHEREAS, Mr. DuBoise spent 3 years on death row, and
   33         WHEREAS, on March 10, 1988, the Florida Supreme Court
   34  issued a mandate vacating Mr. DuBoise’s death sentence, and on
   35  April 4, 1988, he was resentenced to life imprisonment for
   36  murder and a consecutive 15-year sentence for attempted sexual
   37  battery, and
   38         WHEREAS, Mr. DuBoise has maintained his innocence since his
   39  arrest and for the entirety of his incarceration for the past 37
   40  years, and
   41         WHEREAS, on September 11, 2020, the Conviction Review Unit
   42  (CRU) for the State Attorney’s Office for the 13th Judicial
   43  Circuit issued a 49-page “CRU Summary Fact-Finding Report” based
   44  on a comprehensive investigation spanning nearly 1 year,
   45  culminating in the conclusion that “Robert DuBoise’s conviction
   46  should be vacated and Robert DuBoise be exonerated of the
   47  charges against him,” and
   48         WHEREAS, on September 14, 2020, the Circuit Court for the
   49  13th Judicial Circuit granted, with the concurrence of the
   50  state, a motion for postconviction relief, vacated the judgment
   51  and sentence of Mr. DuBoise, and ordered a new trial, and
   52         WHEREAS, the CRU report found that there was no credible
   53  evidence of Mr. DuBoise’s guilt and, likewise, that there was
   54  clear and convincing evidence of his innocence, and
   55         WHEREAS, on September 14, 2020, as the result of the CRU
   56  report, the state orally pronounced a nolle prosequi with regard
   57  to the retrial of Mr. DuBoise, and
   58         WHEREAS, the Legislature acknowledges that the state’s
   59  system of justice yielded an imperfect result that had tragic
   60  consequences in this case, and
   61         WHEREAS, the Legislature acknowledges that, as a result of
   62  his physical confinement, Mr. DuBoise suffered significant
   63  damages that are unique to him, and that the damages are due to
   64  the fact that he was physically restrained and prevented from
   65  exercising the freedom to which all innocent citizens are
   66  entitled, and
   67         WHEREAS, before his conviction for the aforementioned
   68  crimes, Mr. DuBoise had prior convictions for unrelated
   69  nonviolent felonies, and
   70         WHEREAS, because of his prior nonviolent felony
   71  convictions, Mr. DuBoise is ineligible for compensation under
   72  chapter 961, Florida Statutes, and
   73         WHEREAS, the Legislature apologizes to Mr. DuBoise on
   74  behalf of the state, NOW, THEREFORE,
   76  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   78         Section 1. The facts stated in the preamble to this act are
   79  found and declared to be true.
   80         Section 2. The sum of $1.85 million is appropriated from
   81  the General Revenue Fund to the Department of Financial Services
   82  for the relief of Robert Earl DuBoise for his wrongful
   83  incarceration. The Chief Financial Officer is directed to draw a
   84  warrant in the sum of $1.85 million payable directly to Robert
   85  Earl DuBoise.
   86         Section 3. Tuition and fees for Mr. DuBoise shall be waived
   87  for up to a total of 120 hours of instruction at any career
   88  center established pursuant to s. 1001.44, Florida Statutes,
   89  Florida College System institution established under part III of
   90  chapter 1004, Florida Statutes, or state university. For any
   91  educational benefit he receives, Mr. DuBoise must meet and
   92  maintain the regular admission and registration requirements of
   93  the career center, institution, or state university and make
   94  satisfactory academic progress as defined by the educational
   95  institution in which he is enrolled.
   96         Section 4. The Chief Financial Officer shall pay the funds
   97  directed by this act without requiring that the wrongfully
   98  incarcerated person, Mr. DuBoise, sign a liability release.
   99         Section 5. With respect to the relief for Mr. DuBoise as
  100  described in this act, the Legislature does not waive any
  101  defense of sovereign immunity or increase the limits of
  102  liability on behalf of the state or any person or entity that is
  103  subject to s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, or any other law. Funds
  104  awarded under this act to Mr. DuBoise may not be used or be paid
  105  for attorney fees or lobbying fees related to this claim.
  106         Section 6. Upon his receipt of payment under this act, Mr.
  107  DuBoise may not submit an application for compensation under
  108  chapter 961, Florida Statutes.
  109         Section 7. If, after the time that monetary compensation is
  110  paid under this act, a court enters a monetary judgment in favor
  111  of Mr. DuBoise in a civil action related to his wrongful
  112  incarceration, or Mr. DuBoise enters into a settlement agreement
  113  with the state or any political subdivision thereof related to
  114  his wrongful incarceration, Mr. DuBoise shall reimburse the
  115  state for the monetary compensation awarded under this act, less
  116  any sums paid for attorney fees or costs incurred in litigating
  117  the civil action or obtaining the settlement agreement. A
  118  reimbursement required under this section may not exceed the
  119  amount of monetary award Mr. DuBoise received for damages in the
  120  civil action or settlement agreement. The court must include in
  121  the order of judgment an award to the state of any amount
  122  required to be deducted under this section. Claimant Mr. DuBoise
  123  must notify the Department of Legal Affairs upon filing any such
  124  civil action.
  125         Section 8. The department must then file a notice of
  126  payment of monetary compensation in the civil action, and the
  127  notice shall constitute a lien upon any judgment or settlement
  128  recovered under the civil action which is equal to the sum of
  129  monetary compensation paid to the claimant under this act, less
  130  any attorney fees and litigation costs.
  131         Section 9. If any future judicial determination determines
  132  that Mr. DuBoise, by DNA evidence or otherwise, participated in
  133  any manner in the death or sexual battery for which he was
  134  incarcerated, the unused benefits to which he is entitled under
  135  this act are vacated.
  136         Section 10. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.