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