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Wrongfully convicted man released after serving 17 years in prison



Florida – A man has been released from a South Florida prison after he served over 15 years for a crime he did not commit.

Leonard Cure said he is not angry, but grateful that he was released from prison after serving 17 years.

“I just, you know, decided, no matter what, fight the case until the end because you never know the future,” Cure said. “You just can’t give up.”

A conviction review unit created by the Broward State Attorney’s Office determined that it was not likely there was a lot of reasonable doubt in the case.

Cure was accused in November 2003 of forcing his way into a Dania Beach Walgreens. The victims said they were held at gunpoint and robbed, but they were not sure it was Cure who committed the robbery, who, at the time, was in his 30s.

“There were many issues with the lineup,” Innocence Project of Florida spokesperson Krista Dolan said. “For instance, one of the victims was shown a lineup where the victim was oscillating between two witnesses but said, you know, he wasn’t sure. He was then shown a second lineup of only photos of Mr. Cure, which is not standard practice.”

On the day of the robbery, Cure had an alibi, and those witnesses were never called. Cure also had an ATM receipt that was not used at the trial.

According to the state attorney’s office conviction review unit, the crime’s timeline did not make sense, either.

“I always felt like the evidence would show it wasn’t me,” Cure said.

His first trial ended with a hung jury in 2004, but a second jury ultimately convicted him. Because of a previous criminal history, he was sentenced to life in prison.

“There was never any anger or hate, but the frustration was real,” Cure said. “It’s a bad situation all around. I think I’m one of the lucky ones. I didn’t do a lot of time considering the fact that I sometimes talk to others in my situation. They’ve done 20, 30, 40 years. You know what? It’s done. It is what it is. I’m here, thank God, and I just want to get on with my life.”

However, Cure never gave up hope, despite him losing multiple appeals.

He then wrote a letter to the Broward State Attorney’s Office, and the Innocence Project of Florida got involved.

“At this point, we are actually still waiting on the judge,” Dolan said. “We hope that he will approve to the agreed order that the conviction integrity unit and I have put in front of him, which would result in his charges being vacated.”

A Broward County judge will rule on Cure’s exoneration soon.

Cure said he is looking forward to getting a job and spending more time with his mother.

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