St. Petersburg Times
Special report
Video report
  • For their own good
    Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
  • More video reports
Multimedia report
Print Email this storyEmail story Comment Email editor
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
Your name Your email
Friend's name Friend's email
Your message
 

Politics

Senator's evidence bill may affect his own case

By STEVE BOUSQUET
Published January 5, 2007


ADVERTISEMENT

TALLAHASSEE - Sen. Gary Siplin of Orlando, who's keeping his seat while appealing a felony conviction, has filed a bill that would allow a person to seek civil damages if a conviction is based on fabricated evidence.

Siplin's one-page bill (SB 456) would create a cause of action for anyone "whose conviction was based on evidence that was fabricated or deceptively manipulated by any law enforcement agency or state attorney's office."

As drafted, the bill would take effect July 1, 2007. Whether it would be directly applicable to Siplin's case would depend on how long it takes for his appeal to run its course.

Siplin was convicted in August of grand theft for having employees work on his re-election campaign on state time.

The case against him was brought by the Orange-Osceola State Attorney's Office, and Siplin's lawyers have criticized prosecutors for pressing the case against him.

Senate leaders in November decided to take no action against Siplin because he is appealing his conviction.

The Orlando Democrat also has filed a bill that would ease Florida's long-standing denial of automatic restoration of civil rights for convicted felons.

Sen. Steve Geller, D-Cooper City, the Senate Democratic leader who has defended allowing Siplin to remain in the Senate, said he was not familiar with the details of Siplin's bill.

"It's probably not the smartest bill for him to file," Geller said. "He probably needs to show a little more sensitivity on what bill's he's filing, until the outcome of his appeal."

Siplin, 52, was suspended from practicing law this week.

A phone call left with his office was not returned Thursday.

[Last modified January 5, 2007, 01:25:46]


Share your thoughts on this story

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Subscribe to the Times
Click here for daily delivery
of the St. Petersburg Times.

Email Newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT