Crotzer gets clean slate
The Executive Board of Clemency granted Alan Crotzer, originally of St. Petersburg, a clean slate Tuesday, wiping from his record two prior convictions that were unrelated to the 24 years he served in prison for a crime he didn't commit.
In 2006, Crotzer was cleared from essentially a life sentence in prison for robbery and sexual assault charges, crimes a judge cleared him of after he spent 24 years in prison. In 2008, the Legislature compensated him for the wrongful charges.
At clemency, an FDLE staffer said he didn't think the Clemency Board had the authority to expunge a conviction, because the Florida Supreme Court had said so back in 2004. But Gov. Charlie Crist said he thought they should move forward anyway, adding, "We have a couple of new members over there. It's up to the panel. The law is whatever those judges say on any given day."
Crotzer was already cleared for the crime he didn't commit when a judge "vacated" that charge and sentence. in 2006.
But he had two other convictions, a 1979 robbery charge and a 1991 drug charge. Crotzer said he was 18 when he was convicted of the robbery -- a bunch of friends and he took beer from a store. He called it a youthful indiscretion. That crime was the main reason he was targeted later on for the crime he didn't commit. And then in 1991, while in jail, Crotzer said a jail guard asked him to buy $100 of marijuana from him. Crotzer said he only did it because he knew he was going to spend the rest of his life in prison, and he didn't want to aggravate or name the guard, because he thought it would impact his survival chances.