Crotzer closer to getting paid for false imprisonment

05/06/08 Mitch E. Perry
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In Tallahasee today, final paperwork was prepared to finally pay Alan Crotzer $1.25 million for his wrongful imprisonment.

The St. Petersburg man spent 24½ years in prison for a crime he did not commit. Crotzer was released in January 2006, but the Legislature failed in previous attempts to provide financial compensation for his false incarceration.

The Tampa Tribune reports that Crotzer, who has been working for a nursery in Tallahassee, now plans to go back to school, and also plans to lobby on behalf of other people who are wrongly imprisoned.

Seth Miller is executive director with the Innocence Project based in Tallahassee, a group that worked to have Crotzer released from prison. Crotzer was arrested in 1981 after a 38-year-old woman and 12-year-old girl were raped in a Tampa apartment. The woman identified Crotzer from a mugshot and he was charged with kidnapping, robbery and rape. A year later, at the age of 20, he was sentenced.

This year legislation sponsored by Sen. Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, has been passed and been forwarded to Gov. Charlie Crist. It would grant exonerated inmates $50,000 for every year they spent wrongfully imprisoned.

Under an annuity, Crotzer, who is married and has two children, will receive an initial payment of $250,000.

CFO Alex Sink says that way, his compensation will not be taxed.

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