A recent Supreme Court decision is widely expected to make it easier for people wrongly convicted of Florida crime to get compensation. A later ruling out of Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal, however, makes clear that there are still strict time limits on efforts to get that compensation.
Defendant was charged with grand theft and uttering a forged instrument, executing a scheme to defraud a financial institution, and counterfeiting a license tag in three separate criminal cases. He eventually entered into a plea deal, under which Defendant plead no contest to the crimes. He also agreed to pay restitution to the victims of the forged instrument and scheme to defraud offenses. Defendant was sentenced to three years of probation on the scheme to defraud charge as part of the deal.
A federal court in 2009 overturned Defendant’s conviction on the scheme to defraud offense. The court held that writing a check that’s unsupported by sufficient funds doesn’t qualify as a fraudulent representation to a bank without proof of intent. So Defendant also went back to state court and asked a judge to scrap his plea deal and give Defendant back the restitution money he had paid for the scheme to defraud conviction. The trial court declined that request in 2009. Some eight years later, Defendant filed a “motion for damages” seeking the return of the restitution money. A judge said that this filing wasn’t timely.