Convicting the Innocent
DNA Exonerations Database

Frank Lee Smith

First Name Frank Lee
Last NameSmith
Year of Conviction1986
Year of Exoneration2000
Testing inculpated culpritNon-Cold Hit
State of ConvictionFlorida
Trial, Bench Trial, or Guilty PleaTrial
Type of CrimeRape and Murder
Death SentenceYes
Gender of ExonereeMale
Race of exonereeBlack
Description / Quotes from Testimony Concerning Defense

● Attorney argued that no physical evidence tied the defendant to the crime and that he did not commit it.

Did the defendant testify at trial?No
Types of evidence at trial
  • Eyewitness
Identity of eyewitness
  • Intraracial Identificaiton
  • Non-victim
Multiple eyewitnesses3
Lineup Procedures
  • Composite drawing
  • Lineup
  • Photo array
Suggestive Procedures

Yes ● Suggestive remarks – one witness told by police that they had caught culprit ● Repeated his photo in multiple arrays ● Victim not told attacker might not be present Brady

Quotes from testimony #1

“They said, look at these photographs. They say, if you see the man you seen that night on that day, just point him out and I point him out.” “In fact, when the police showed you the pictures to you to let you know that they caught him, they told you that was him, right? A. That’s correct.”

Unreliable Identification?

Yes ● Discrepancies in description – scar, whether attacker wore glasses, discrepancies between the different witnesses regarding hair, facial hair, build ● One witness could not see face of perpetrator ● Initially uncertain

Quotes from testimony #2

Second eyewitness did not see face clearly – “Didn’t you tell the police numerous times that you could not recognize the person’s face? A. Yes, I did… Q. You based your identification on the person’s shoulders? A. Yes.” Third eyewitness said only that “I said he looked like the guy” when viewed photo array. He explained he had reservations about the height of the man, and police told him he should not be concerned, that all in the array were about six feet or six foot one. Police suggested to the third eyewitness that the attacker might have a scar, and he testified, “No, I don’t remember a scar,” but recalled he might have seen a scar of some kind. The eyewitnesses described a man who was husky, like a football player. None described the man as wearing glasses. Descriptions of facial hair varied from full beard to a possible mustache.

Highest level reachedState Post­ Conviction
Claims Raised During All Appeals and Postconviction
  • Improper Capital Sentencing Instructions
  • Ineffective Assistance of Counsel
  • Jackson Claim
  • Motion for DNA Testing
  • Prosecutorial Misconduct
  • State Court Newly Discovered Evidence Claim
  • State Law Evidence Claim
Harmless Error Rulings
  • G
  • HE
Citations to judicial opinions

Smith v. State, 515 So.2d 182 (Fla. 1987)
Smith v. Florida, 485 U.S. 971 (1988)
Smith v. Dugger, 565 So.2d 1293 (Fla. 1990)
State v. Lewis, 656 So.2d 1248 (Fla. 1994)
Smith v. State, 708 So.2d 253 (Fla. 1998)