Broward County, Florida – A man, who was incarcerated for over 16 years on a life sentence for an armed robbery he did not commit, is to receive considerable compensation for his wrongful imprisonment.
On Friday, Harold F. Pryor, Broward State Attorney, announced that Leonard Cure is slated to receive an unprecedented compensation sum of $817,000 for his unjust conviction.
Mr. Cure, who is currently 53 years old, is also eligible to receive 120 hours of college tuition and associated fees.
Following the establishment of a new Conviction Review Unit by the Broward State Attorney in December 2019, Cure lodged his personal petition requesting the CRU to examine his case.
Aided by the Innocence Project of Florida, Cure was eventually released in April 2020.
His conviction had rested on no tangible evidence linking him to the 2003 armed robbery. Moreover, he had an alibi, an ATM receipt indicating that he had withdrawn $20 approximately 20 minutes prior to the incident, which had transpired two and a half miles distant.
An initial jury could not reach a consensus on Cure’s case. However, a second jury, not privy to the alibi, declared him guilty.
In time, the dependability of the eyewitnesses was also challenged.
Cure was fully absolved of the crime in December 2020, marking the inaugural exoneration by the Broward State Attorney’s Office’s Conviction Review Unit.
The claims bill delineating his compensation terms, HB 6001, received Governor Ron DeSantis’s endorsement on Friday.
State Representatives Michael Gottlieb and Ashley Gantt, along with State Senator Shevrin Jones, guided the bill through the legislative process, as reported in a press release from the Broward State Attorney’s Office.
In that press release, Assistant State Attorney Arielle Demby Berger commented:
“These cases are rare and take a lot of time. This is exactly why conviction review units and the opportunity for an exoneration are so crucial to ensuring justice. While Mr. Cure spent more than 16 years in prison, the entire state has recognized this error and worked together to remedy it. I’ve gotten to know Mr. Cure, “Lenny,” these past years and he has encouraged our work as well as helped us train future generations of prosecutors. Lenny has shared with me that his dream was one day to work in a cubicle instead of doing manual labor. Now, Lenny can go to college and surpass his dreams.”