State Attorneys for the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit (FL), the Innocence Project of Florida, and Florida attorney Charles Murray worked cooperatively to correct a wrongful conviction that stole nearly ten years from Cheydrick Britt. He is finally fully exonerated after imprisonment for a 2002 sexual battery he did not commit.
On Wednesday the State Attorney’s Office dropped all charges after DNA had excluded Britt as the perpetrator. Britt had been released from prison on September 24, 2013, and Thirteenth Judicial Circuit Court Judge Chet Tharpe then vacated the convictions in writing.
“I am thrilled that we were able to reunite Cheydrick with his family. We commend the State Attorney for taking an objective look at how these DNA test results impact the remaining evidence and pursuing justice in this case. This is a model for how prosecution and defense can collaborate to reach the just and right result,” said Melissa Montle, Staff Attorney with IPF.
According to the Innocence Project of Florida, Britt was wrongfully convicted for these offenses in May 2004. He spent over 9 years wrongfully convicted and incarcerated and is the 14th individual to be exonerated through the use of DNA testing in Florida since 2000.
IPF worked on Cheydrick Britt’s case for free, including drafting key motions and facilitating the DNA testing. Bonita Springs, Florida attorney Charles Murray was lead counsel, representing Mr. Britt since 2008.
It is encouraging to see increasing support and cooperation from state attorneys in correcting conviction errors. As recently reported by the National Registry of Exonerations (here) “in 2012 for the first time, prosecutors or police initiated or cooperated in a majority of the exonerations” known to the Registry. The report noted: “In 2012 there was a dramatic increase in the number and the proportion of exonerations that prosecutors or police participated in obtaining. Of the 63 exonerations in 2012, prosecutors or police initiated or cooperated in 34, or 54%.”
This is a very encouraging sign illustrated in Florida this week.
Read the full release here.