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Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office investigating wrongful convictions

Unit receives 15 applications in 6 months
Posted at 5:58 PM, Jan 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-04 18:05:02-05

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. — The Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office is working to correct wrongful convictions through a new program.

However, Wenfred Dorsey, the Lord's Place Recovery Center director in Boynton Beach, said justice isn't always black and white.

"A lot of the lives of these men bloom into something beautiful," Dorsey said.

Twenty-five years ago, he was sentenced to eight years in prison.

"[I was] arrested for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, and I was sentenced to time in federal prison so, here I am today," Dorsey said.

Now, he's helping ex-offenders re-enter society.

Wenfred Dorsey
Wenfred Dorsey of the Lord's Place Recovery Center says the time is now for more criminal justice reform.

"We need to reform the system. We need to look at how things are systemically in place that causes more black and brown people to be incarcerated," Dorsey said.

"If the evidence is not there, then the person should not be convicted," said Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg.

Called the Conviction Review Unit, Aronberg's office is now investigating wrongful convictions.

"We don't want anyone to sit in prison who did not commit the crime," Aronberg said.

Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg
Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg says his office has a team of prosecutors investigating possible wrongful convictions.

In six months, the unit has received 15 applications, according to Aronberg.

One application was accepted and being investigated, while 10 others are being reviewed further.

"The cases can take time to review," Aronberg said. "I do anticipate when all is said and done, there could be people who will be exonerated."

Wenfred said this isn't the time for waiting but wants more criminal justice reform.

"We need to put some other things in place, don’t talk about it, let's do it, yesterday because if we don't do [anything,] nothing is going to happen," Dorsey said.