FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A man serving a life sentence for a 2003 armed robbery and armed aggravated assault in Dania Beach should be freed while his case is reviewed further, according to the Broward State Attorney’s Office. The prosecutor who convicted him is having serious doubts about eye witness testimony and the lack of any evidence connection Cure to the robbery.
Leonard Cure, 50, was found guilty of robbery with a firearm and aggravated assault with a firearm by a Broward jury. Because he was classified as a habitual felony offender, he was sentenced to life in state prison on Nov. 3, 2004.
But the Broward State Attorney’s Office is recommending that he should be released immediately “while prosecutors complete a more extensive reexamination of his case.”
“This is the right thing to do,” added Broward State Attorney Mike Satz.
Cure is expected to be released from the Sumter Correctional Institution in Bushnell next Tuesday.
He was convicted of stealing $1,700 in cash from two employees of a Walgreen’s store in Dania Beach on Nov. 10, 2003 (Case Number: 03-019405CF10A).
A memo written by Berger reads in part:
“The issues we find most troublesome are those surrounding how Cure became a suspect in the first place. Seemingly, a man who had no connection to a Walgreen’s robbery became the main suspect after someone reviewed photos of well-dressed/neat-appearing African-American males. That was it, there was no physical evidence, no witnesses who knew him, nothing but an alleged search in the questionable ‘TRAP’ Program. The case became questionable at the very onset. If the identification was bad, then everything that comes after is bad as well.
“The original prosecutor also saw the weaknesses in this case. Once one of the two victims had a difficult time identifying Cure in the lineup and after the first jury came back hung, he offered a below guidelines sentence of 7 years. Cure has now served significantly more time than that, over 16 years. After the hung jury, he continued to maintain his innocence. A second jury convicted him and he was then sentenced by the Judge [Fred Berman] to life in prison.
“After considering all the facts and circumstances of this case, it is our conclusion that it is in the best interest of justice to release Cure as soon as possible. We would like to modify his sentence and give time served for his 16 years plus in Florida State Prison. This will allow for the defendant to be released after serving a significant amount of time while we can thoroughly review his case for a potential exoneration.”
Click here to read the order modifying Cure’s sentence.
Broward County Judge Circuit Judge John J. Murphy III signed the order to release Cure from prison.
“I am beyond excited. I have so many thanks for the State Attorney’s Office and the Innocence Project of Florida for paving the way for my freedom. I’m looking forward to spending time with my family for the first time in 16 years,” Cure said to the Innocence Project of Florida upon finding out about his release from prison.