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AG Derek Schmidt: Second mistaken-conviction lawsuit concluded

Release Date: May 23, 2019

TOPEKA – (May 23, 2019) – The attorney general’s office has resolved the second lawsuit filed under the state’s mistaken-conviction statute enacted by the legislature last year, Attorney General Derek Schmidt said today.

The attorney general reached an agreed resolution of a mistaken-conviction lawsuit filed under the new statute by Floyd Scott Bledsoe in July 2018. In 2000, Bledsoe was convicted in Jefferson County and imprisoned for murder, kidnapping, and indecent liberties. His conviction was vacated and charges against him dismissed in 2015. The agreed resolution was approved yesterday in Shawnee County District Court by Judge Richard D. Anderson.

“We are committed to faithfully administering the state’s mistaken-conviction law as the legislature wrote it,” Schmidt said. “In this case, it was possible based on review and evaluation of the existing record and discovery from Mr. Bledsoe to resolve all issues, satisfy all of the statute’s requirements, and agree to this outcome so Mr. Bledsoe can receive the benefits to which he is entitled by law because of his mistaken conviction.”

In the agreed order, the court determined that Bledsoe did not commit the crime or crimes for which he was convicted, nor was he an accessory or accomplice to that crime or crimes, nor did he suborn perjury, fabricate evidence or cause or bring about the conviction. Between November 1999 and December 2015, Bledsoe served 5,592 days in prison or jail and 277 days confined by bond and court supervision.  

Accordingly, the court ordered the following relief for Bledsoe, as provided by the mistaken-conviction statute:

  • Bledsoe was granted a Certificate of Innocence.
  • Records of his conviction, arrest, and DNA profile record information were ordered expunged.
  • He was granted total compensation of $1,038,526.95.
  • He was granted counseling.
  • He was granted permission to participate in the state health care benefits program for plan years 2019 and 2020.

A separate federal lawsuit filed by Bledsoe in May 2016 remains pending. Requirements of that federal case, including an order entered in that case by U.S. Magistrate Judge James P. O’Hara on May 17, 2019, affected the relief the State could provide in this case and were taken into account in the agreed resolution. That federal case is Floyd S. Bledsoe v. Jefferson County, Kansas, et al., Case No. 16-CV-2296, United States District Court for the District of Kansas.

By law, payment on the state judgment entered yesterday is subject to review by the State Finance Council. Schmidt plans to formally ask the Finance Council to review the matter at its June 5 meeting.

In total, five lawsuits have been filed under the new mistaken-conviction statute. Three remain pending in Sedgwick County, Clay County and Shawnee County. One previous lawsuit in Johnson County was resolved in December.

Copies of the orders entered yesterday In the matter of the wrongful conviction of Floyd Scott Bledsoe, Shawnee County Case No. 2018-CV-539, are available at http://bit.ly/2K1h871.

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