NEW VOICES: Broward County Prosecutors to Continue DNA Testing After Florida Deadline
As the October 1st deadline for Florida inmates to request DNA testing of evidence that could prove their innocence looms, Broward County prosecutors have announced that they will allow inmates access to the crucial testing after the deadline passes. Two of Florida's highest-profile DNA exonerations, Frank Lee Smith, who died of cancer on death row 11 months before he was exonerated by DNA evidence, and Jerry Frank Townsend were both Broward County cases. Carolyn McCann, head of the Broward State Attorney's appeals unit, stated, "Since that's happened, you can't look at these cases with your head in the sand or your head in the rule book. We're going to do the right thing." According to the law that established the deadline, if inmates convicted prior to 2001 fail to file for testing before October 1, 2003, DNA evidence in their cases may be destroyed. The Florida Bar plans to file an emergency petition with the Florida Supreme Court to request a one-year extension of the deadline. (Sun-Sentinel, September 12, 2003) See New Voices and Innocence.