Will Florida governor seek review of cases involving discredited witness?

Governor Rick Scott has formally apologized “on behalf of the state of Florida” for the 27 years William Dillon spent in prison for a crime he did not commit.  He has also signed a claims bill of $1.35 million.  It took another three years of Dillon’s life to navigate the process of getting compensation from the state. But Dillon remains unsettled over the thought of others wrongfully convicted by the now deceased John Preston, Brevard County authorities’ go-to witness whose German shepherd had quite a nose. Preston claimed he could pick up a scent in the middle of a lake or on a highway long after the crime. A judge eventually put the dog to a number of tests and the pup flunked. In the judge’s words, John Preston was used “to confirm the state’s preconceived notions about cases.”

As Scott Maxwell has written in an Orlando Sentinel piece (here) how to handle this issue is a political test. Three men wrongfully convicted with the help of Preston have been released from prison but many fear there are more, and it will take a long time for the Florida Innocence Project and other advocates to pursue them one at a time.  Advocates would like to see the state conduct a comprehensive review of the cases in which Preston testified.

The article notes that Attorney General Pam Bondi made a campaign promise to do the review, but so far, it hasn’t happened. Dillon and others are now hoping that the governor’s apology will be followed by a call for an investigation of all convictions prompted by dog sniffing evidence.

One response to “Will Florida governor seek review of cases involving discredited witness?

  1. i am a desperate mother seeking help to free my son who was convicted and sentenced to 30 years for a crime he did not commit. our family have spent everything we have to defend him, but watched the Judicial system that we trusted fail us by offering co-defendants plea bargins to colaborate their theory by becoming State witnesses allowing them to change their statement to incriminate someone they believe is guilt and manipulated evidence to get a conviction of a young man who has never been in trouble, who was attending college with good grades, whos dream and life was taken from him because of this unfortunate situation. We need a pro bono criminal attorney/activist to help us. now our family lives in fear of what these law enforcement and State attorney’s can do to take your life away because of the way they encourage co-defendants to lie in order to win a case. it is disappointing and very disturbing to know the very system that is supposed to protect you is the very system that you fear. even writing this email i am fearful, not knowing if our family will become their next victim. Please if anyone knows of an attorney or an organization that can help our family to bring light and truth in this matter, we would be eternally grateful. i am putting myself out there because i am fighting for my sons innocence. I read your article and i am appealing to you for HELP. my email address is opalmunroe@hotmail.com

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