Florida Senate - 2020                               (NP)    SB 2
       By Senator Baxley
       12-00139-20                                              20202__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act for the relief of Scotty Bartek; providing an
    3         appropriation to compensate Scotty Bartek for being
    4         wrongfully incarcerated; providing a limitation on the
    5         payment of attorney fees; providing an effective date.
    7         WHEREAS, on September 9, 1991, Scotty Bartek was convicted
    8  of two counts of sexual battery upon a child under 12 years of
    9  age and was sentenced to two life sentences with a 25-year
   10  minimum mandatory term on each count, and
   11         WHEREAS, on October 5, 2009, Mr. Bartek filed a motion for
   12  post-conviction relief, claiming newly discovered evidence in
   13  the form of the victim’s recantation, and
   14         WHEREAS, the victim informed the state that she had no
   15  recollection of Mr. Bartek, her father, committing sexual
   16  battery and that her mother had coached her to fabricate
   17  testimony against Mr. Bartek, and
   18         WHEREAS, on May 15, 2012, the Circuit Court for the Fifth
   19  Judicial Circuit, in and for Marion County, granted Mr. Bartek’s
   20  petition of post-conviction relief in Case No. 1991-CF-376, and
   21  the State of Florida then appealed the circuit court’s order,
   22  and
   23         WHEREAS, if a circuit court’s order vacating a conviction
   24  and sentence is appealed by the State of Florida, the order
   25  becomes final upon the issuance of a mandate by the appellate
   26  court, and
   27         WHEREAS, on November 26, 2013, the Fifth District Court of
   28  Appeal per curiam affirmed the circuit court’s order granting
   29  Mr. Bartek’s petition and vacating the judgment and sentence in
   30  Case No. 5D12-2399, and
   31         WHEREAS, section 961.03(1)(b)1., Florida Statutes (2014),
   32  requires a wrongfully convicted person to file a petition
   33  seeking compensation within 90 days after the order vacating a
   34  conviction and sentence becomes final, and
   35         WHEREAS, on December 20, 2013, after more than 22 years of
   36  wrongful incarceration, Mr. Bartek was exonerated and the
   37  mandate was issued by the district court of appeal, giving him
   38  until March 20, 2014, to timely file his petition seeking a
   39  determination of eligibility for compensation, and
   40         WHEREAS, Mr. Bartek’s case was scheduled for a retrial in
   41  March 2014, and
   42         WHEREAS, on February 27, 2014, the state entered a nolle
   43  prosequi, dismissing its charges against Mr. Bartek, and
   44  indicated that it did not have sufficient evidence to establish
   45  beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Bartek committed sexual
   46  battery, and
   47         WHEREAS, on May 20, 2014, within 90 days after the state’s
   48  filing of the nolle prosequi, Mr. Bartek filed a petition
   49  seeking compensation for wrongful incarceration, and
   50         WHEREAS, on September 8, 2014, counsel for Mr. Bartek filed
   51  a supplemental memorandum of law alleging that Mr. Bartek is
   52  “eligible for compensation” under chapter 961, Florida Statutes
   53  (2014), and
   54         WHEREAS, counsel for Mr. Bartek alleged that although Mr.
   55  Bartek was disqualified from seeking compensation by s.
   56  961.04(1), Florida Statutes (2014), the statute did not afford
   57  him equal protection under the law, in violation of the United
   58  States Constitution and the State Constitution, because the
   59  statute unconstitutionally discriminated between persons
   60  wrongfully incarcerated who had prior felony convictions and
   61  those persons who did not have prior felony convictions, and
   62         WHEREAS, Mr. Bartek was convicted before his wrongful
   63  sexual battery conviction and incarceration on one count of the
   64  sale of cannabis, a nonviolent felony of the third degree, and
   65         WHEREAS, the courts did not consider Mr. Bartek’s equal
   66  protection argument, but the Legislature narrowed the types of
   67  disqualifying felonies in its passage of chapter 2017-120, Laws
   68  of Florida, so that wrongfully incarcerated persons would be
   69  disqualified if they committed a violent felony before their
   70  wrongful conviction and incarceration and so that those persons
   71  who committed a nonviolent felony would no longer be
   72  disqualified, and
   73         WHEREAS, Mr. Bartek’s counsel argued that the Legislature
   74  did not intend to require a defendant seeking compensation for
   75  wrongful incarceration to file a petition while the state could
   76  pursue charges against him or her, and
   77         WHEREAS, on March 3, 2015, the circuit court dismissed Mr.
   78  Bartek’s petition seeking compensation because it was not timely
   79  filed, and on August 12, 2016, the District Court of Appeal
   80  affirmed the trial court’s dismissal, and
   81         WHEREAS, the Legislature has determined that it is
   82  appropriate to compensate individuals who have been wrongly
   83  incarcerated, and
   84         WHEREAS, if Mr. Bartek had met the requirements of chapter
   85  961, Florida Statutes (2014), he would have been entitled to
   86  compensation at a rate of $50,000 for each year of wrongful
   87  incarceration, prorated to account for a portion of a year
   88  served; a waiver of tuition and fees for up to 120 hours of
   89  instruction at a career center, community college, or state
   90  university; a refund of the amount of any fine, penalty, or
   91  court costs imposed which he paid; and a refund of the amount of
   92  reasonable attorney fees and expenses which he incurred and
   93  paid, and
   94         WHEREAS, Mr. Bartek was wrongfully incarcerated for 22
   95  years and 242 days, which amounts to $1,133,150.69, and
   96         WHEREAS, the estimated cost of attendance for a full-time
   97  undergraduate Florida resident to attend a state university for
   98  4 years is approximately $24,000, and
   99         WHEREAS, Mr. Bartek paid an estimated $500 in court costs
  100  and fines, and
  101         WHEREAS, Mr. Bartek’s defense attorney charged him $40,000
  102  for legal services relating to the charges described in this
  103  case, and
  104         WHEREAS, these figures amount to an estimated total of
  105  $1,197,650.69, which is the amount Mr. Bartek seeks under this
  106  claim bill, NOW, THEREFORE,
  108  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
  110         Section 1. The facts stated in the preamble to this act are
  111  found and declared to be true.
  112         Section 2. The sum of $1,197,650.69 is appropriated from
  113  the General Revenue Fund to the Department of Legal Affairs for
  114  the relief of Scotty Bartek for his wrongful incarceration.
  115         Section 3. The Chief Financial Officer is directed to draw
  116  a warrant in favor of Scotty Bartek in the sum of $1,197,650.69
  117  upon funds of the Department of Legal Affairs in the State
  118  Treasury and to pay the same out of such funds in the State
  119  Treasury.
  120         Section 4. The amount awarded under this act is intended to
  121  provide the sole compensation for all present and future claims
  122  arising out of the wrongful incarceration of Scotty Bartek as
  123  described in this act. The total amount paid for attorney fees,
  124  including the $40,000 reimbursement for Mr. Bartek’s defense
  125  attorney fees, may not exceed 25 percent of the amount awarded
  126  under this act.
  127         Section 5. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.