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Hillsborough State Attorney launches 'Innocence Files' website to gather tips to review cases

Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren wants to make sure there aren't men or women sitting behind bars that are innocent.
Credit: iStockphoto

TAMPA, Fla. — It's impossible to understand what it's like to spend a year on death row for a crime you didn't commit, waiting for a glimpse of a second chance on the outside. 

Herman Lindsey was convicted on circumstantial evidence. The Supreme Court of Florida eventually threw out his conviction, and he became a free man.

Credit: Florida Department of Corrections
Herman Lindsey was on death row for a year before the Florida Supreme Court threw out his conviction back in 2009.

Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren wants to make sure there aren't others sitting behind bars that are innocent.

A Conviction Review Unit has put another set of eyes on 177 Tampa Bay area cases since launching back in 2018.

Now, Warren is launching a website to get tips. It’s called Innocence Files Tampa. He hopes people watching the new Netflix series “The Innocent Files” will want to come forward with information on cases.

Credit: Office of the State Attorney 13th Judicial Circuit
Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren announces a new website to report tips on cases for the Conviction Review Unit.

Lindsey says the collaboration with the district attorney's office and the Innocence Project gives inmates hope. 

“I think this is an amazing thing," he said. “You have to understand, being wrongfully convicted and actually sentenced to die and you lose, you sit in that cell it beats you down. You have no faith and being able to look at all the other people inside and how long the appeal’s process taking and things like that. But this is a little more comfort."

Warren has been asked why his office would be interested in reviewing cases. 

“Our search for justice never ends even after a case is closed because wrongful convictions are contrary to the very fiber of our system. They punish the innocent while allowing the actual perpetrator to go free,” Warren said.

Florida leads the nation in exonerations, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. Florida has 29 followed by Illinois with 21.

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