Innocence Commission: Justice Worth Price

A commission that was set up to propose ways for Florida to avoid convicting innocent people has finished its work. It came up with several concrete recommendations — mostly already proven effective in other states — but its major proposal boiled down to one word.

Money.

More specifically, the Florida Innocence Commission said the state’s criminal-justice system doesn’t have enough money to function properly and prevent grievous injustices from occurring.

That’s not a problem unique to the criminal courts, of course. The Legislature has been cutting and slashing agencies from all three branches of government for several years, with no relief in sight. The chronically weak economy isn’t the Legislature’s fault. The blame for that goes far beyond Florida’s — and America’s — borders.

But one thing that is the Legislature’s fault is its absolute refusal to even consider any form of new revenue, regardless of how equitable it might be. Sometimes, cost cutting can be even more expensive than meeting needs head-on.

One major example given by the Innocence Commission — which was created by the Florida Supreme Court — is a law passed this year that tightens up the amount of money the state will allow lawyers to be paid for representing indigent defendants who can’t be represented by public defenders for various reasons. It sets a maximum compensation for defending the most serious crimes at $15,000 in capital cases. In many instances, a lawyer would be paid less than the state’s minimum wage.

EFFECTIVE LAWYERS NEEDED (Read the rest of the article here: Innocence Commission: Justice Worth Price | TheLedger.com.)

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