The title of this post was going to be "Justice Update." I changed it. I'm thinking today about song titles...
Sunday, April 29, 2007.
The Associated Press reported that the state House voted unanimously Friday to pay Alan Crotzer of St. Petersurg $1.25 million in compensation for the more than 24 years he spent in a Florida state prison. Mr. Crotzer was wrongfuly convicted of rape and robbery, while maintaining his innocence throughout his trial and incarceration. He was exonerated by DNA evidence in 2006 through the efforts of Florida Innocence Initiative and the Innocence Project. (See blogpost From Siberia With Love, October 2006)
This made me think of Redemption Song and Coming in From the Cold. (Bob Marley)
And a May 2 story reported that the Florida legislature decided to pay NO compensation to Alan Crotzer in restitution for the 25 years he spent behind bars for crimes he did not commit. That's a double serving of injustice for Mr. Crotzer, and zero restitution paid to him. A near quarter century of labor in Florida prisons and no back wages. If this story had background music it'd be Backstabbers. (The OJay's)
A May 4 item in the St Pete Times: Florida Lawmakers will allow only two companies to bid on a $15 million to $20 million prison construction project. And the winners are...GEO Group and Corrections Corporation of America, now under criminal investigation for overcharging the state $4.5 million for prison operations. The theme song for the aforementioned news item could be:
Hunger Strike (Temple of the Dog): "I don't mind stealing bread from the mouths of decadence, but I can't feed on the powerless when my cup's already overfilled."-lyrics by Chris Cornell.
Somebody should make the lawmakers who vetoed justice for Alan Crotzer listen to this song over and over until they get the message.
For a state that lays some heavy handed justice down on former felons--by denying them the right to vote forever--Florida is amazingly casual about extending justice and restitution to an ex prisoner wronged by the state.
The last song I'm thinking about is Crazy (Gnarls Barkley).