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Wrongfully Convincted Man Awaits Financial Compensation from the State of Florida

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William Dillon after being releasted from prison in 2008 (image via Florida Issues blog)

At 21 years of age, William Dillon was arrested for a rape and murder that he did not commit. He was then convicted of these crimes, spending the next 27 years in seven different Florida prisons. In 2005, the Innocence Project took on Dillon’s case. On November 18, 2008, Dillon regained his freedom when a DNA test ordered by a Broward County judge cleared Dillion of the crimes. Sadly, by this time William Dillon had spent more of his life inside jail than outside of it.

William Dillon awaits a final move from the Florida to try to put this nightmare behind him.

Florida’s legislature proposed a bill to provide Dillion with $810,000 for his wrongful conviction. The bill would also provide financial compensation to Eric Brody, who was paralyzed 13 years ago after being hit by a Broward County Sheriff’s Deputy. Senate President Mike Haridopolos fast-tracked claims for Dillon and Brody so that the men could receive long awaited closure to the their negative encounters with Florida’s law enforcement.

Said State Senator Haridopolos, “We think this is a very simple bill. It’s about justice.”

The wait should not be much longer for Dillon. On November 16, the measure was approved 16-0 by Florida’s Senate Rules Committee. The initial proposed settlement amounted to just $30,000 for each year of William Dillon’s wrongful imprisonment. The bill was amended last week to total $50,000 for each year of Dillon’s time in prison, totaling $1.35 million. The adjusted amount remains meager compensation for taking away 27 years of someone’s life, but the peace it can help provide in terms of final resolution in this matter is priceless.

The bill now awaits passage of the full Florida Senate, which will hopefully occur in 2012.

Now living in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Dillon knows that there are a number of important matters that Florida has to deal with at this time. But he hopes for resolution to a matter that robbed him of the best years of his life. Dillon said, “I know there’s a million problems that Florida has and they have to deal with, but it’s been 30 years now, so I’m hoping for some sort of finality here so I can move on.”

Senator Haridopolos stated, “It’s never the wrong time to do the right thing.”

This Thanksgiving, William Dillion is one step closer to his desire for finality.

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