Memorial Day – the final Monday in May – provides the opportunity for everyone to remember the men and women who have died in the United States Armed Forces. This year IPF asks that while we remember this nation’s great heroes, who have fought extremely hard to preserve the freedoms of this country, that we allow ourselves adequate time to reflect on the individuals who have lost their lives in the state corrections system due to wrongful convictions.
Florida Death Row inmate, Frank Lee Smith, who was sentenced to death in 1986, spent 14 years in prison due to an eyewitness misidentification and ultimately died of cancer before his exoneration in December 2000. This man deserves our thoughts during this time of remembrance. Smith, who suffered from mental illness, spent most of his life in poverty, dealt with abandonment, neglect, abuse and ultimately wrongful incarceration before his passing on January 30, 2000.
This Memorial Day we encourage you to celebrate the lives of the brave soldiers who have fought for our nation, and make it possible for us to live our lives as freely and as selfishly as we desire, and also take the time to remember men like Smith, whose life was stolen because of a death sentence for a crime he did not commit.