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Compensation sought for man exonerated in Tampa murder after 37 years in prison

The proposals would pay Robert DuBoise $1.85 million, $50,000 for each year he was incarcerated.
Robert DuBoise hugs his mother, Myra DuBoise, after being released from prison on Aug. 27 in Bowling Green.
Robert DuBoise hugs his mother, Myra DuBoise, after being released from prison on Aug. 27 in Bowling Green. [ MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE | Times ]
Published Aug. 4

Two Tampa Bay-area lawmakers this week filed proposals that would compensate a man who was wrongfully incarcerated for 37 years in a 1983 murder.

Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, and Rep. Andrew Learned, D-Brandon, filed similar bills (SB 52 and HB 6501) to pay $1.85 million to Robert Earl DuBoise. The bills were filed for consideration during the 2022 legislative session, which will start Jan. 11.

DuBoise was arrested in the August 1983 murder of a woman in Tampa and was convicted of murder and attempted sexual battery in 1985. He spent three years on Death Row before the Florida Supreme Court in 1988 vacated his death sentence, according to the bills.

DuBoise maintained his innocence, and the Hillsborough County State Attorney’s Office in 2020 concluded after a review that the conviction should be vacated. Prosecutors also declined to retry DuBoise.

Related: An exonerated man adjusts to life in Tampa after 37 years away

A news release last year from the Innocence Project of Florida said DuBoise was imprisoned at age 18 and that his conviction was “based largely on the expert bite mark analysis testimony that is now known to be junk science, and unreliable, incentivized testimony from a jailhouse informant.”

The $1.85 million would equate to $50,000 for each year DuBoise was incarcerated.