Here is the press release from the Florida Bar Foundation who are also wonderful supporters of IPF’s work.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 2, 2010
Contact: Nancy Kinnally
Director of Communications
The Florida Bar Foundation
(NOTE: Please call and do not e-mail if after noon today. The Foundation’s server will be down for maintenance).
The Florida Bar Foundation approves Florida Innocence Commission funding
The board of directors of The Florida Bar Foundation June 24 approved a $114,862 grant application from the Florida Supreme Court to help fund the Florida Innocence Commission created today through an administrative order issued by Chief Justice Charles T. Canady.
After consulting then-Chief Justice Peggy Quince, the Florida Legislature appropriated $200,000 for the commission for 2010-11.
In its application, the Court stated that the Commission would “study issues related to wrongful convictions, including false eyewitness identifications, interrogation techniques, false confessions, the use of informants, handling of forensic evidence, attorney competence and conduct, processing of cases and the administration of the death penalty.”
The Foundation board also approved a request from The Florida Bar for $10,000 to support a workshop to be held at the Florida Supreme Court Sept. 20-21 to educate journalists in the basics of legal reporting, thereby increasing awareness of the judiciary as a co-equal branch of government with the legislative and executive branches.
Both grants were made through The Florida Bar Foundation’s Improvements in the Administration of Justice Grant Program. Among the program’s stated objectives are the improvement and reform of the criminal, civil, and juvenile justice systems, and the enhancement of public education and understanding about the law.
Through the same grant program, the Foundation has provided more than $1.5 million in funding for the Innocence Project of Florida since 2004-05, the most recent grant being for $319,600 in 2009-10. Through the use of DNA testing, the Innocence Project of Florida helps innocent prisoners in Florida obtain their freedom and rebuild their lives. The organization’s founding chairman Talbot “Sandy” D’Alemberte has been a leading advocate for the establishment of the Florida Innocence Commission.
Maria Henderson, chair of the Foundation’s Improvements in the Administration of Justice Grant Program committee, said preventing wrongful convictions is in the interest of everyone.
“Finding and eliminating as many causes of wrongful convictions as possible will not only prevent innocent people from having their freedom taken away, but it will also save the state money in the long run and keep the focus on finding the true perpetrators,” Henderson said.
Established in 1956, The Florida Bar Foundation (www.floridabarfoundation.org) is the only statewide organization that funds civil legal services for the poor. Other Foundation programs include grants to improve the justice system, public service fellowships for law students, and loan repayment assistance for attorneys at its legal aid grantee organizations. Principal support for the Foundation’s charitable activities comes from the Interest on Trust Accounts (IOTA) Program implemented by the Florida Supreme Court in 1981. Additional support comes from gifts by Florida attorneys, law firms, corporations, foundations and from other individuals.