Florida State Attorney Awards $817,000 to Innocent Man After 16-Year Imprisonment

A man from Florida experienced a positive turn of events when his life sentence was reduced, leading to his release from prison after serving over 16 years. Furthermore, he will receive a historically significant compensation from the Broward State Attorney’s Office.

The Broward SAO recently announced that Leonard Cure, aged 53, has been granted $817,000 by the State of Florida for his wrongful conviction and imprisonment. In addition, he will receive 120 hours of college tuition and fees.

Broward State Attorney Harold Pryor stated, “This is a moment of great significance, and it was the right course of action to take. Although no amount of money can make up for the years Mr. Cure lost or bring him true peace, it is a small gesture that acknowledges the injustice he endured.

It demonstrates that the State of Florida and the justice system will assist and compensate him.” In 2003, Cure was found guilty on charges of armed robbery and aggravated assault with a firearm for a robbery that occurred at a Walgreens store in Dania Beach. 

His first trial resulted in a hung jury, and he declined a plea deal before the second trial. Consequently, Cure received a life sentence with an additional 10 years, which were served concurrently. He commenced his sentence on January 27, 2005.

However, an ATM receipt presented during the case indicated that Cure was more than three miles away from the Walgreens just 23 minutes prior to the robbery.

Fast forward to 2019, the Broward State Attorney’s Office established the Conviction Review Unit to thoroughly examine claims of innocence and investigate such cases.

The Broward SAO expressed serious doubts about Cure’s guilt and continued imprisonment. Assistant State Attorney Arielle Demby Berger’s report on the case highlighted the following concerns: “The most troubling issues we identified revolve around how Cure became a suspect in the first place.

It appears that an individual with no connection to the Walgreens robbery became the primary suspect merely because someone reviewed photos of well-dressed and neat-appearing African-American males.”

“There was no physical evidence or witnesses who could identify him. The only basis for suspicion was an alleged search in the questionable ‘TRAP’ Program. The case became dubious from the very beginning. If the identification was flawed, then everything that followed was also tainted.”

Cure’s case marked the first exoneration accomplished by the Conviction Review Unit, leading to his release from prison in April 2020.

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