Larry Bostic was exonerated 18 years after pleading guilty to a Fort Lauderdale, Florida, rape. He pled guilty to the crime to avoid a possible life sentence if convicted at trial. He brought about his own exoneration by filing a handwritten motion for DNA testing from prison.
At 4 a.m. on October 12, 1988, a black man with a knife attacked a 30-year-old woman as she returned home after using a payphone in Fort Lauderdale. The man ordered the woman to accompany him to a secluded area behind a tavernr, where he forced her to remove her clothing and then raped her. He also stole $75 from a purse she was carrying, and then left the area.
Police showed the victim a lineup of photographs of several men and she identified Bostic as the rapist. Bostic's appellate attorney later said that the victim told an investigator in 2007 that she had never seen the perpetrator during the 1988 crime, but identified Bostic because she believed she had seen him in the neighborhood days before the crime.
Bostic was arrested and charged with sexual battery and robbery. In 1989, he pled guilty to both charges and was sentenced to eight years in prison followed by five years probation. He later said in appeals that he was "coerced" to plead guilty by both the prosecutor and his court-appointed attorney because he faced a possible life sentence in a jury trial.
Bostic was released on probation after three years in prison, but was arrested nine months later for an unrelated battery. He was sentenced to 17 years in prison for violating the probation from his rape conviction. He also pled guilty to the new battery charge and received a 12-year concurrent prison term.
In 2005, Bostic filed a handwritten motion from prison, requesting DNA testing on the victim's underwear and a rape kit collected after the 1988 crime. In June 2007, prosecutors agreed to conduct testing and sent the evidence to the Broward County Crime Lab for analysis. They received the results in August 2007: there were sperm cells on the vaginal swab in the rape kit, and the DNA profile of these cells did not match Bostic. Investigators interviewed the victim and she said she did not have other sexual partners in the days before the assault. The prosecutors joined with Bostic's appellate attorney in asking a Florida judge to dismiss the charges and vacate the convictions relating to the 1988 rape and Bostic was released in September 2007.
Subsequently, the DNA profile from the evidence was submitted to the FBI's national DNA database and it was matched to a man who had been a consensual sex partner with the victim.