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Off death row and seeking justice

Axios Tampa Bay, Oct. 6, 2021.

Robert DuBoise was 18 years old when he was sentenced to death. Almost 40 years later, he's a free man and suing the people who had him put away.

Driving the news: DuBoise is suing Tampa Police after he says officers conspired to falsify evidence to have him wrongfully convicted of murder and rape of Barbara Grams in the 1980s, Creative Loafing reports.

  • He's also suing the dentist who claimed a bite mark on the victim matched DuBoise's teeth. DuBoise's lawyers say Richard Souviron knew there were clear inconsistencies between DuBoise's dental records and the mark— which turned out to not be human — but he testified under oath saying it was a match.

Point of intrigue: DuBoise's lawyers, a team from the Human Rights Defense Center and Loevy and Loevy Attorneys, claim that police knew the bite mark evidence was weak, so they conspired to get two informants to back them up.

  • One of them said DuBoise confessed the murder to him, but the lawyers claim his story changed drastically over time. Both witnesses failed a polygraph test, the lawyers say, but claim those results and other evidence were suppressed by TPD.

Flashback: Last year, after an Innocence Project investigation, critical DNA evidence was uncovered that proved DuBoise’s innocence and identified two other men as the likely killers.

  • The case against him was dropped that August and he was released a day later from the Hardee Correctional Institution in Bowling Green. DuBoise was exonerated a month later.
  • During his nearly four decades in maximum-security prison, DuBoise witnessed stabbings and killings of other inmates, and was the victim of violence and a murder attempt himself, his lawyers said in a press release.

Meanwhile: Florida owes DuBoise $50,000 per year he was wrongfully incarcerated, or $1.85 million for 37 years behind bars. That payout is pending approval via a motion filed for next legislative session.

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