Florida Senate - 2022 (NP) SB 78 By Senator Baxley 12-00251-22 202278__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act for the relief of Scotty Bartek; providing an 3 appropriation to compensate Scotty Bartek for being 4 wrongfully incarcerated; providing a limitation on 5 compensation and the payment of attorney fees; 6 providing an effective date. 7 8 WHEREAS, on September 9, 1991, Scotty Bartek was convicted 9 of two counts of sexual battery upon a child under 12 years of 10 age and was sentenced to two life sentences with a 25-year 11 mandatory minimum term of imprisonment on each count, and 12 WHEREAS, on October 5, 2009, Mr. Bartek filed a motion for 13 postconviction relief, claiming newly discovered evidence in the 14 form of the victim’s recantation, and 15 WHEREAS, the victim informed the state that she had no 16 recollection of Mr. Bartek, her father, committing sexual 17 battery and that her mother had coached her to fabricate 18 testimony against Mr. Bartek, and 19 WHEREAS, on May 15, 2012, the Circuit Court for the Fifth 20 Judicial Circuit, in and for Marion County, granted Mr. Bartek’s 21 petition of postconviction relief in Case No. 1991-CF-376, and 22 the State of Florida then appealed the circuit court’s order, 23 and 24 WHEREAS, if a circuit court’s order vacating a conviction 25 and sentence is appealed by the State of Florida, the order 26 becomes final upon the issuance of a mandate by the appellate 27 court, and 28 WHEREAS, on November 26, 2013, the Fifth District Court of 29 Appeal per curiam affirmed the circuit court’s order granting 30 Mr. Bartek’s petition and vacating the judgment and sentence in 31 Case No. 5D12-2399, and 32 WHEREAS, section 961.03(1)(b)1., Florida Statutes (2014), 33 requires a wrongfully convicted person to file a petition 34 seeking compensation within 90 days after the order vacating a 35 conviction and sentence becomes final, and 36 WHEREAS, on December 20, 2013, after more than 22 years of 37 wrongful incarceration, Mr. Bartek was exonerated and the 38 mandate was issued by the District Court of Appeal, giving him 39 until March 20, 2014, to timely file his petition seeking a 40 determination of eligibility for compensation, and 41 WHEREAS, Mr. Bartek’s case was scheduled for a retrial in 42 March 2014, and 43 WHEREAS, on February 27, 2014, the state entered a nolle 44 prosequi, dismissing its charges against Mr. Bartek, and 45 indicated that it did not have sufficient evidence to establish 46 beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Bartek committed sexual 47 battery, and 48 WHEREAS, on May 20, 2014, within 90 days after the state’s 49 filing of the nolle prosequi, Mr. Bartek filed a petition 50 seeking compensation for wrongful incarceration, and 51 WHEREAS, on September 8, 2014, counsel for Mr. Bartek filed 52 a supplemental memorandum of law alleging that Mr. Bartek is 53 “eligible for compensation” under chapter 961, Florida Statutes 54 (2014), and 55 WHEREAS, counsel for Mr. Bartek alleged that although Mr. 56 Bartek was disqualified from seeking compensation by s. 57 961.04(1), Florida Statutes (2014), the statute did not afford 58 him equal protection under the law, in violation of the United 59 States Constitution and the State Constitution, because the 60 statute unconstitutionally discriminated between persons 61 wrongfully incarcerated who had prior felony convictions and 62 those persons who did not have prior felony convictions, and 63 WHEREAS, Mr. Bartek was convicted before his wrongful 64 sexual battery conviction and incarceration on one count of the 65 sale of cannabis, a nonviolent felony of the third degree, and 66 WHEREAS, the courts did not consider Mr. Bartek’s equal 67 protection argument, but the Legislature narrowed the types of 68 disqualifying felonies in its passage of chapter 2017-120, Laws 69 of Florida, so that wrongfully incarcerated persons would be 70 disqualified if they committed a violent felony before their 71 wrongful conviction and incarceration and so that those persons 72 who committed a nonviolent felony would no longer be 73 disqualified, and 74 WHEREAS, Mr. Bartek’s counsel argued that the Legislature 75 did not intend to require a defendant seeking compensation for 76 wrongful incarceration to file a petition while the state could 77 pursue charges against him or her, and 78 WHEREAS, on March 3, 2015, the circuit court dismissed Mr. 79 Bartek’s petition seeking compensation because it was not timely 80 filed, and on August 12, 2016, the District Court of Appeal 81 affirmed the trial court’s dismissal, and 82 WHEREAS, the Legislature has determined that it is 83 appropriate to compensate individuals who have been wrongly 84 incarcerated, and 85 WHEREAS, if Mr. Bartek had met the requirements of chapter 86 961, Florida Statutes (2014), he would have been entitled to 87 compensation at a rate of $50,000 for each year of wrongful 88 incarceration, prorated to account for a portion of a year 89 served; a waiver of tuition and fees for up to 120 hours of 90 instruction at a career center, community college, or state 91 university; a refund of the amount of any fine, penalty, or 92 court costs imposed which he paid; and a refund of the amount of 93 reasonable attorney fees and expenses which he incurred and 94 paid, and 95 WHEREAS, Mr. Bartek was wrongfully incarcerated for 22 96 years and 242 days, which amounts to $1,133,150.69, and 97 WHEREAS, the estimated cost of attendance for a full-time 98 undergraduate Florida resident to attend a state university for 99 4 years is approximately $24,000, and 100 WHEREAS, Mr. Bartek paid an estimated $500 in court costs 101 and fines, and 102 WHEREAS, Mr. Bartek’s defense attorney charged him $40,000 103 for legal services relating to the charges described in this 104 case, and 105 WHEREAS, these figures amount to an estimated total of 106 $1,197,650.69, which is the amount Mr. Bartek seeks under this 107 claim bill, NOW, THEREFORE, 108 109 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 110 111 Section 1. The facts stated in the preamble to this act are 112 found and declared to be true. 113 Section 2. The sum of $1,197,650.69 is appropriated from 114 the General Revenue Fund to the Department of Legal Affairs for 115 the relief of Scotty Bartek for his wrongful incarceration. 116 Section 3. The Chief Financial Officer is directed to draw 117 a warrant in favor of Scotty Bartek in the sum of $1,197,650.69 118 upon funds of the Department of Legal Affairs in the State 119 Treasury and to pay the same out of such funds in the State 120 Treasury. 121 Section 4. The amount awarded under this act is intended to 122 provide the sole compensation for all present and future claims 123 arising out of the wrongful incarceration of Scotty Bartek as 124 described in this act. The total amount paid for attorney fees, 125 including the $40,000 reimbursement for Mr. Bartek’s defense 126 attorney fees, may not exceed 25 percent of the amount awarded 127 under this act. 128 Section 5. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.