A Wrongfully convicted m has been released after 34 years in prison.
A man, Sidney Holmes, was released after serving more than 34 years of a 400-year prison sentence after the state of Florida reinvestigated the case and determined that he did not commit armed robbery.
According to ABC news on Tuesday, a thorough re-investigation of the 1988 armed robbery case that led to Holmes’ conviction “raised reasonable doubts about his guilt,” according to Broward County State Attorney Harold F. Pryor.
Pryor said that Holmes was arrested in October 1988 for allegedly being the driver for two unidentified men who robbed a man and woman outside a store at gunpoint. The car of the male victim was stolen by two unidentified men.
In April 1989, he was found guilty by a jury and sentenced to 400 years in prison. At the time, prosecutors asked the judge to sentence him to 825 years in prison.
The Conviction Review Unit determined that there is no evidence linking Holmes to the robbery other than an incorrect identification of him and the vehicle used in the robbery.
Florida Department of Corrections records had listed Holmes’ release date as April of 2232. Holmes was moved from the Everglades Correctional Institution to the Broward County Main Jail earlier this month.
Less than 24 hours after Holmes’ release, the Florida Senate Appropriations Committee on Criminal and Civil Justice met in Tallahassee to vote on legislation to improve a law meant to compensate people who are wrongfully convicted.
While the law is supposed to provide exonerees with $50,000 per year of wrongful imprisonment, only 10 of the state’s 84 exonerees have been compensated, according to the Innocence Project of Florida.
“It has very stringent eligibility criteria. Right now, Mr. Holmes wouldn’t qualify under the law because he has a prior criminal record,” Innocence Project’s Seth Miller said. “So that’s one of the things the bill going through the legislature would change. It would make it so that someone who has a previous record, but convicted and served time for the unrelated crime and is subsequently wrongfully convicted is not prevented for getting compensation on the time they spent for that wrongful conviction.”
Leave a Reply