United States: Leonard Cure, mistakenly sentenced to life imprisonment, is released 16 years later – US and Canada – International

On November 10, 2003, the African-American Leonard Cure was going with a minor to Dania Elementary School in Florida, place located near the Walgreens pharmacy store, where a robbery occurred, according to the newspaper Sun Sentinel, stated a Broward County police officer.

An employee and the manager of the Walgreens, victims of the criminal act, They were unsure whether the African-American was responsible for the theft of, according to Miami Herald, $ 1,700 in cash.

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So in 2004, due to a less credible police alibi – which included a bank receipt and a supervisor’s testimony of his arrival time – and his criminal record, Cure was sentenced to life imprisonment, according to Sun Sentinel.

But Cure found a lifeline in 2019, when “the State Attorney’s Office formalized the practice of reviewing cases through the creation of a conviction review unit”, the Miami Herald.

The way in which he was identified as a suspect and the way the police acted was questioned then by Assistant State Attorney Arielle Demby Berger, who reviewed the case.

The prosecutor pointed out that, apparently, Cure was not related to the robbery, since there was no “physical evidence” or “witnesses who knew him.”

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The Innocence Project, whose mission is to free “innocent people who remain incarcerated and bring reform to the system responsible for their unjust incarceration,” took over Cure’s case at the request of Broward prosecutors.

Florida attorneys for that organization collaborated with investigators from the prosecutor’s office of the Judicial Circuit 17 to find evidence that would make it possible for Cure to be free again.

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In October this year, the independent sentencing review panel voted unanimously in favor of ending Cure’s conviction with the argument that there was a reasonable doubt about his guilt and it was more likely that he was innocent.

“The prosecutor’s office asked a judge to release Cure in April. An independent review panel approved Demby Berger’s findings and recommended overturning Cure’s conviction and dropping the charges. The panel consisted of local attorneys Penny Brill, Ashley Gantt, Jeff Harris, Cynthia Lauriston and Mila Schwartzreich, “says the Sun Sentinel.

Cure has a very positive attitude, much more so than I would probably have in his

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This Monday, after 16 years, it was then that Fort Lauderdale Judge John Murphy ordered Cure to be released from prison. Murphy made the necessary procedures to change the sentence imposed on Cure in 2004 for the time already served in prison, said the digital media Florida Phoenix.

“Cure has a very positive attitude, much more than I would probably have in his case”, said Krista Nolan, an attorney for the Innocence Project who represented him in the conviction review process.

According to him Florida Phoenix, if it weren’t for a Florida rule that establishes that only wrongly convicted prisoners who have no other background for other reasons can be financially compensated, Cure could receive up to $ 800,000.

Nolan told the Florida Phoenix that Cure, who is now 51 years old, is already living with his family and looking for a job.

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* With information from Efe

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