Monday, March 2, 2009

Wrongfully incarcerated, recently exonerated Brevard resident William Dillon to address public for the first time this Saturday

Brevard resident William Dillon, who served over 27 years for a crime he did not commit, will make his first address to the public since his exoneration in November 2008, joining the Innocence Project of Florida (IPF) on stage at the Gleason Center, Florida Tech campus, 6:00pm, Saturday, March 7, 2009 at the 5th Annual Progressive Celebration hosted by the Space Coast Progressive Alliance and co-sponsored by WFIT 89.5FM.

Dillon will join IPF Assistant Director Toni Shrewsbury during an award ceremony recognizing the work that IPF has done since their inception in 2003, resulting in the release of ten wrongfully incarcerated Floridians who, through DNA testing, were proven factually innocent of the crimes for which they were convicted. In addition to obtaining the freedom of these individuals, IPF's work has resulted in widespread recognition of the need to reform the state criminal justice system, where fundamental problems have been identified in the areas of eyewitness identification, false confessions, evidence preservation, crime lab oversight, access to DNA testing, and exoneree compensation. IPF has received over 2000 inquiries/requests for assistance in proving the innocence of individuals currently incarcerated.

Dillon's 27 years in jail represent the longest time served by any of the 232 individuals exonerated nationwide as a result of DNA test results. Dillon was exonerated when his innocence of a 1981 murder was proved by DNA evidence that came as a result of a 2007 motion filed by IPF and attorney Mike Pirolo. Dillon was subsequently released November 18, 2008.

The state's case against Dillon was based largely on the testimony of an admitted perjurer who had a sexual liaison with the case's lead investigator during the investigation, a fraudulent dog scent expert, a partially blind eyewitness and an individual whose own charges in a rape case were dropped in exchange for his testimony, which included numerous details at odds with known facts in the case.

Both Dillon and Shrewsbury will be joining Progressive Celebration attendees at a pre-event reception greeting Bob Edgar, President and CEO of Common Cause, a 400,000 member nonprofit, nonpartisan citizen lobby for reforms that make government at all levels more open, honest, and accountable, and re-engages citizens with civic responsibility. Edgar will then keynote the celebration with a talk addressing the challenges facing the Obama administration in meeting its promises for education, health care and energy policy. Edgar will specifically address key reforms that have taken hold in other states and how such reforms can be pursued in Florida. Celebration attendees will have the opportunity to question Edgar about Fair Districting, public campaign financing, and other fundamental reforms directed toward government accountability and the campaign/election process. Edgar's talk will follow a live music performance by Evan Greer, RiotFolk musician, performing original songs of citizen empowerment, sustainability and social justice. Concerned citizens of all ages are invited and urged to attend.

Doors open at 6pm to the event, which benefits both WFIT 89.5FM, a public radio station serving South Brevard and Indian River County, and the Space Coast Progressive Alliance, a local grassroots citizen lobby for progressive public policies.

Tickets are available from WFIT 89.5FM (321-674-8950 or

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Event Info
5th Annual Progressive Celebration
an evening of inspiration and information
hosted by Space Coast Progressive Alliance
co-sponsored by WFIT 89.5 FM

Saturday, March 7, 2009 on campus, Florida Institute of Technology, 150 W University Blvd, Melbourne FL 32901

5-6:30pm - Pre-event Party, Meet & Greet Reception in Hartley Room, Student Union Building. Limited attendance, tickets required.
6:00pm - Doors open at Gleason Performing Arts Center for Progressive Celebration
6:15pm - Live Music with Evan Greer, RiotFolk Music Collective
7:00pm - Welcome and Award Presentation to Innocence Project of Florida, followed by keynote speech by Bob Edgar, President & CEO of Common Cause
Presentation title: "The Audacity of Hope vs. Pay-to-Play Politics: Obama's Challenge
8:45pm - Edgar book signing, progressive information tabling, music resumes

Tickets available from WFIT (online at or call 321-674-8950)
$20 advance / $25 at the door, if available
$10 students
$60 tickets

MEDIA welcome with press credentials/identity.



Innocence Project of Florida Assistant Director Toni Shrewsbury: 850-561-6767 or

Common Cause: Mary Boyle, VP Communications, via Mike Surrusco 202-736-5788 or, or John Briscoe, VP Development, 202-841-4507 or

Common Cause Florida: Alex Chavez, 941-706-1877 or 941-737-1447,

Evan Greer, RiotFolk Musician: or or 978-852-6457

Local event co-chair: Cammie Donaldson, 321-917-1960 or
Local event co-chair & pre-event reception chair: Susan Martin, 321-773-1276 or zulu2@cfl.rr.

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Space Coast Progressive Alliance (SCPA) is a Florida nonprofit corporation supported by membership dues, donations, and event ticket sales. Nonpartisan by strongly progressive and politically active, SCPA encourages citizen engagement in the political process and seeks to advance progressive public policy at the local, state and national level. Click here to visit their website.

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