(This Op-Ed by yours truly, was published by Florida Today, on-line, 20 Oct 2017: “Non-Vetted Jailhouse Snitches Make For Flawed Justice”)
Those spending prison time based on the testimony of a non-vetted jailhouse snitches who offered a story to gain personal favor from prosecutors, should have their cases seriously reviewed by the governor, or at the least, a district court of appeals, or perhaps the state Supreme Court.
Sadly, Brevard County had a number of those cases of non-vetted testimony from in-custody snitches in which the prosecutor’s office of the early 1980s used to help expedite convictions.
Bill Dillon spent 27 years in prison, based partly on the testimony of a jailbird who falsely claimed Dillon had confessed to him in the cell. That snitch openly admitted to his lie 27 years later. Another innocent man, Wilton Dedge spent 22 years in prison for rape, based partly on the self-serving testimony of another inmate. These cases were featured in FLORIDA TODAY’s award-winning podcast series Murder on the Space Coast.
In both cases, prosecutors also gave undue weight to a dog’s sniffer. The infamous handler, John Preston, had later been shamefully outcast from the justice system as a fraud, …