Highlights from Steppin’ Out 2014

The 3rd Annual Steppin’ Out with the Innocence Project of Florida was held on May 8th at Mission San Luis in Tallahassee. As always it was an evening filled with inspiration and hope. This year’s theme for the evening was “stepping out and moving forward.” During the evening we honored the exonerees who are already moving forward, those who have helped them do so, and the innocent in prison who still wait to take that first step.

The celebration began with a VIP reception with the exonerees, sponsors, special guests, and award recipients followed by dinner and the program. Throughout the evening we heard the inspiring stories of the Florida exonerees and how they have moved forward after stepping out from their wrongful imprisonment followed by a moving keynote address from California exoneree and NFL athlete Brian Banks.

The Honorable Nancy Daniels, Public Defender of the Second Judicial Circuit, was honored with the Talbot “Sandy” D’Alemberte Commitment to Justice Award for her tireless effort towards the mission of justice for all. The Innocence Project of Florida Pro Bono Award was presented to Guy Spearman III, a Florida lobbyist who vigorously worked to obtain compensation from the State of Florida for exonerees Wilton Dedge and William Dillon for their wrongful convictions.

Brian Banks’ presentation was inspiring as we learned more about his wrongful conviction, his five years in prison and then five years of parole and registration as a sex offender, and after his exoneration how he moved forward in pursuit of his dream of playing in the NFL. He has fulfilled that dream and now speaks frequently about his wrongful conviction and is pursuing his certification as a life coach.

The evening was brought to an emotional close when the song “We are the Champions”, which contained lyrics that closely paralleled the struggle and success of the exonerees, was played in the exonerees’ honor.

We thank everyone, especially our sponsors, who attended and made this event such a success. The evening raised nearly $45,000, which will support our litigation efforts on behalf of wrongfully convicted people in Florida prisons. Enjoy the highlights of the evening by clicking through the gallery below.(If we’ve misidentified you or misspelled your name, please accept our apologies; please let us know so we can correct our mistake. Email corrections to Jackie Pugh at jpugh@floridainnocence.org.)

The Exonerees

Steppin’ Out VIP Reception and Silent Auction

Steppin’ Out Dinner and Award Ceremony




© Copyright Innocence Project of Florida, Inc. This web site is supported in part by grants from The Florida Bar Foundation.