Last week, according to a report by Shoshana Walter of The Ledger, the Florida State Supreme Court rejected State Senator Mike Haridopolos’ petition to establish a state funded and independent innocence commission.
In a letter to Haridopolos, State Supreme Court Chief Justice Peggy Quince said that she is still very interested in helping create the proposed commission, but wants to wait until the legislature secures funding. If Florida did establish its own innocence commission, it would be the nation’s second with power to investigate and influence specific cases and decisions; the first is the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission, which secured its first exoneration earlier this year. It is a precedent that Haridopolos hopes his state can emulate.
As the Pennsylvania Wrongful Conviction Committee finalizes its report on issues in the criminal justice system and the PA Innocence Project prepares our response, the addition of another state funded innocence commission in Florida would add weight to our recommendation that Pennsylvania create its own independent commission with the same power of oversight and influence as the commission in North Carolina.