Saturday, 11 October 2008

Wrongly Convicted Men Share Their Stories

Alan Crotzer
Larry Bostic

Florida Innocence Project Presentation Thursday night

Published: Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Updated: Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Two innocent prisoners who had their lengthy sentences prior overturned through the use of DNA evidence will speak Thursday at UT.

The cases of Alan Crotzer, of Tampa, and Larry Bostic have been chronicled in local and national news media.

The Florida Innocence Project ( will hold the presentation at 7:30 p.m. in the Vaughn Center's Board Room (9th floor).

"In the United States, DNA testing has so far helped exonerate and release 220 wrongfully convicted individuals. Nine of those were imprisoned in Florida. We know there are more. Florida leads the nation in Death Row exonerations (26 since 1973), and with our rapidly growing prison population approaching 93,000, the third highest in the country, it is clear that our work is only beginning," according to their Web site.

Larry Bostic Freed

Larry Bostic was exonerated 18 years after pleading guilty to a Fort Lauderdale rape that DNA now proves he didn't commit. He pled guilty to the crime to avoid a possible life sentence if convicted at trial, and finally brought about his own exoneration by filing a handwritten motion for DNA testing from prison.

In 2005, Bostic filed a handwritten motion from prison, requesting DNA testing on the victim's underwear and a rape kit collected after the crime.

Because Bostic pled guilty to the rape, the court dismissed his motion citing the prohibition on granting post-conviction DNA testing to whose entered a plea which was in place at that time.

In 2006,after the Innocence Project of Florida was able to extend the right to post-conviction DNA testing to those who pled. Bostic again filed his handwritten motion.

In June 2007, prosecutors agreed to conduct testing and sent the evidence to the Broward County Crime Lab for analysis. They received the results in August 2007: there were sperm cells on the vaginal swab in the rape kit, and the DNA profile of these cells did not match Bostic. Investigators interviewed the victim to confirm that she did not have other sexual partners in the days before the assault. She said she hadn't, and prosecutors joined with Bostic's appellate attorney in asking a Florida judge to dismiss the charges and vacate the convictions relating to the 1988 rape.

By the time Bostic's name was finally cleared on September 21, 2007, he was 51 years old.

Crotzer Freed

On January 23, 2006, Alan Crotzer was freed from prison after postconviction DNA testing proved his innocence of a 1981 rape, kidnapping, and robbery.

Crotzer had spent 24 years in prison in Florida for this crime - more than half his life.

On July 8, 1981, three men forced their way into a Tampa home. One of the assailants was armed with a shotgun. The five people inside the home were threatened with the gun and robbed. Two of the victims, a 38-year-old woman and a 12-year-old girl, were taken from the home and raped in a wooded area.

Crotzer and two co-defendants, Douglas James and Corlenzo James, were convicted of these crimes in 1981.

Crotzer continued to proclaim his innocence. It was not until 2003, however, that he was able to secure access to the evidence from his trial, which was being preserved at an FDLE laboratory. The spermatozoa found on the evidence, consisting of six slides, was subjected to three rounds of DNA testing at three different laboratories. Prosecutors agreed that the evidence should be tested.

The last round of testing confirmed what Crotzer had claimed since his arrest: he could not have been the man that raped the victims.

Specifically, the spermatozoa found on a slide recovered from the rape kit of the adult female rape victim came from an unknown male. It could not have come from Crotzer, either of the James brothers, or the victim's husband.

On January 23, 2006, Alan J. Crotzer's conviction was overturned and he was released. He had spent 24 years in prison for a crime he did not commit.


Seth Miller, the executive director of the Florida Innocence Project will moderate the presentation. He was a student intern with the project in 2003. He is a former project attorney with the American Bar Association Death Penalty Moratorium Implementation Project and a former staff attorney with the First District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee.

Miller will discuss the broader background of the criminal justice system in which the Florida Innocence Project operates. He joined the project in August 2006 and was a magna cum laude graduate of Florida State University's College of Law.


Persons wishing to attend this presentation are being asked to contribute a very modest charitable donation of $5 which will go directly to the Exoneree Emergency Fund of the Florida Innocence Project.

This charitable donation will not go toward any administrative costs of the organization, but will be used for direct client services for those whose cases are pending post-conviction review and remedy.

Donations greater than $5 will be most graciously accepted by the Florida Innocence Project.

This event is being sponsored, in part, by the Criminology Club and the PEACE Volunteer Center at the University of Tampa.

Innoncence Project

Date: Thursday, Oct. 09, 2008
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Location: Vaughn Center, Board Room (9th Floor)
Price: $5 donations are graciously accepted.

Contact: David Krahl (E-mail: - Phone:(727) 656-4079)

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