Stephanie Spurgeon Takes an Alford Plea
PRESS RELEASE: OCTOBER 15, 2021
Today, our client, Stephanie Spurgeon, entered a guilty plea for a crime she did not commit. She pled guilty under a provision known as an Alford plea, which is a legal construction that allows her to end her case while still maintaining her innocence. Stephanie deserves to be free and she deserves to put this tragic chapter in her life behind her. She has been fighting to prove her innocence since her initial accusation in 2008.
In 2008, Stephanie was working as a day care provider when a child collapsed while in her care and tragically died a week later in the hospital. Medical records not fully litigated at trial indicated the child died not of any trauma, but of a serious, undiagnosed illness. Full investigation after her conviction also revealed that the mechanism of injury the State’s expert, Dr. Sally Smith, testified to at Stephanie’s trial was physically impossible. Despite this, the State’s Attorney’s Office chose to seek retrial, rather than acknowledge their errors and dismiss the profoundly flawed case.
Stephanie has already been convicted and imprisoned once for this crime that she did not commit—indeed, a crime that did not even occur–and while the State’s case was overwhelmingly disproven by recent litigation, Stephanie has no guarantees that she would not be again victimized by the criminal legal system at a new trial. She has been waiting far too long to fully rejoin her family and society and to live her life freely. She will get that chance today. She steadfastly maintains her innocence and has long wished for the peace this resolution will bring.
Stephanie is represented by the Center for Integrity in Forensic Sciences, the Innocence Project of Florida, the Exoneration Project, and Allison Miller of Ripley Whisenhunt, PLLC.