"It ought to be impossible to imagine an American government that deliberately leaves innocent people in prison. But in Florida, present reality is precisely that savage scenario.
"In 157 cases across the nation, it has been established to a moral certainty that innocent prisoners can be exonerated by the recent science of DNA testing. Wilton Dedge, the Floridian who lost 22 years of his life for a rape he did not commit, is one of them. Without doubt, there are more prisoners whose innocence cries to Florida's collective conscience.
"Yet with less than two weeks left in this year's session, the Florida Legislature is not only apparently unwilling to compensate Dedge, but it is also failing to extend an Oct. 1 deadline to file testing petitions on behalf of at least 700 other people still in prison. Their cases have languished because only a handful of volunteers, unpaid by the state, are available to help them or to lobby for extension of the deadline. On that date, clerks of court and other keepers of DNA evidence in closed cases will be technically at liberty to destroy it.