Associated Press, Published January 21, 2008, TALLAHASSEE - Alan Crotzer is working at a landscaping company, hoping one day to be compensated for the 24 years he spent in prison for a rape he didn't commit.
Florida lawmakers have for a couple of years failed to pass a bill to pay him - and he's again asking the Legislature for $1.25-million for the two decades of freedom he gave up.
It's too bad for Crotzer that he doesn't live somewhere else. Several states have automatic compensation for people who have been wrongfully imprisoned and then released - something that's happening more and more because of increasing use of DNA to prove innocence.
But Florida remains one of 28 states that don't guarantee compensation for those who spent precious years behind bars for something they didn't do. Nine men have been freed by DNA in Florida in recent years, but only one has received money.
Crotzer, 47, is seeking money for himself - but he'd rather the state make money available for anyone in his situation. He said most men released after years behind bars - especially those who were, like him, young when imprisoned - have a hard time starting over without help. They're usually broke, and most have no job prospects. All they really know is prison life.