Sunday, July 15, 2012

Bulletin: Loss of innocence? Florida Innocence Commission releases final report. Was its process tainted by political considerations? Fla. Bar News.

STORY: "Innocence Commission IDs causes for wrongful convictions," by Senior Editor Jan Pudlow, published in the Florida Bar News on July 15, 2012.

GIST: "Florida — the state with the dubious distinction of having 13 of 292 post-conviction DNA exonerees nationwide who served an average of 20 years wrongfully locked in prison — has come up with recommendations to help avoid future injustices. After meeting 13 times over two years, the Florida Innocence Commission — sparked by a petition by 68 concerned citizens filed by former ABA President Sandy D’Alemberte — has issued its final report detailing recommendations to the Florida Supreme Court to eliminate or reduce the causes for wrongful convictions. As chronicled in the 171-page report by Executive Director Les Garringer, these are the five top causes of wrongful convictions: eyewitness misidentification, false confessions, informants and jailhouse snitches, improper or invalid scientific evidence, and professional irresponsibility. Recommendations include amendments to criminal rules, statutory changes, new or amended jury instructions, and detailed funding requests.........University of Florida College of Law Professor Kenneth Nunn, who tried to lead the way to a stronger stand on reforming police interrogation techniques to help prevent false confessions, wrote in frustration: “When we were convened, Chief Justice Canady charged us with the responsibility to ‘identify the common causes of wrongful convictions, and to recommend procedures to decrease the possibility of these convictions in the future.’ In my view, we have failed this charge and abdicated our responsibility to give the citizens of Florida the tools to ensure their criminal justice system does not lock up innocent people. . . . We spent an inordinate amount of time arguing over whether wrongful convictions were a significant problem at all.” Nunn continued: “Instead of a dispassionate and scientific accounting of the ‘common causes of wrongful convictions,’ our work instead devolved into a highly politicized search for solutions that would be acceptable to all, including those who opposed the fundamental premises of the commission’s work. . . . Our recommendations were developed primarily with an eye toward whether they would be palatable to police and prosecutors and whether they would gain legislative approval. Whether they would prevent wrongful convictions became a secondary consideration.”"

The entire story - with inks that eventually lead to the actual report - can be found at:!OpenDocument


I am monitoring these issues. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:

Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to:

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.