Earlier this month, Herman Lindsay was freed from Death Row after the Florida Supreme Court ruled that there just wasn’t enough evidence to find Mr. Lindsay guilty of anything — much less sentence him to death. Herman Lindsay became a free man this month, after being tried and convicted in 2006 for the robbery and murder of a pawn shop owner back in 1994. In an unianimous verdict, the high court found that the trial court judge made a mistake in allowing the conviction to stand.
Meanwhile, over in Orlando, David Johnston is fighting to get off Death Row, as well….
Having decided the fate of Herman Lindsay, the Florida Supreme Court now holds the life of David Eugene Johnston in its hands. Convicted of the 1983 murder of an elderly woman in her Orlando home, Johnston was scheduled to die in May. However, the high court halted the execution in order for more DNA testing to be done. There was a skirmish between prosecution and defense based upon missing DNA samples, and some accusations of mishandling of the DNA itself.
The Florida Supreme Court put a kabash to all this by ordering more testing, and an agreement was reached between counsel for an outside lab, based in North Carolina, to take the remaining samples and test them to see if Johnston’s male chromosomes appear in the crime scene evidence.
For David Eugene Johnston, the test results mean everything. If the North Carolina lab returns with results that exonerate him, then he may be joining Mr. Lindsay on the Florida highways and byways. If not, then his execution may well be rescheduled sometime soon.
Another Example of the Power and Importance of the Florida Supreme Court
Within the past sixty days, two men sitting on Death Row — and their loved ones — have looked to the justices sitting on the Florida Supreme Court to make decisions that have literal life and death results.
It’s important to remember that the appellate process is an important and vital component to justice — just because there is a trial, that doesn’t mean that justice has been found. And just because there is a conviction, it doesn’t mean that the fight is over.
To learn more about who sits on the Florida Supreme Court, go here.