Congratulations to the Montana Abolition Coalition and WTI board chair & exoneree Randy Steidl for their success in getting the House Judiciary Committee in Helena to pass the repeal bill. Randy was there the past two weeks educating legislators on innocence. The bill now goes to the House for a full vote. (2/18/15) See more here.
Media in the Bluegrass State were all over exoneree Kirk Bloodsworth's recent visit to support bipartisan legislative efforts to end the death penalty in Kentucky. (2/4/15) Read more here.
Arizona exoneree Ray Krone, WTI's director of membership and training, has a compelling oped in The Arizona Republic on why he and 149 other death row exonerees are the best argument against the death penalty. (1/27/15) Read the oped here.
Florida exoneree Juan Meledez gave a powerful talk about being sent to death row for a crime he didn't commit to law students at the University of New Mexico. Thanks to the American Constitution Society for inviting him! (1/22/15) Read a great report on his visit here.
WTI Assistant Director of Membership and Training Ron Keine is interviewed about his wrongful conviction and the struggles of exonerees post-exoneration for BBC Brasil. (1/21/15) Interview (in Portuguese) here.
Ohio exoneree Derrick Jamison, who spent 17 years on death row an innocent man, is profiled in The Journal-News and talks about life on death row. (1/18/15) Read this very respectful profile of an exoneree here.
Congratulations to the Ohio Innocence Project, which helped to fully exonerate Ricky Jackson and his co-defendants, brothers Wiley Bridgeman and Kwame Ajamu, for a 39-year-old crime they did not commit. All three received the death penalty. (11/21/14) Mark Godsey of the OIP has the riveting full story here.
WTI notes with great sadness the passing of Illinois death row exoneree Darby Tillis, 71. Darby and his co-defendant Perry Cobb were the first two death row exonerees in the state. (11/12/14) Read a beautiful tribute to his life of abolition activism here.
Agence France-Presse covered WTI's annual gathering in Philadelphia in September, and the story and video were picked up in USA Today and papers from Belgium to India. (10/13/14) Read the article here and watch the video here.
Women's Media Center has a great article by columnist Elayne Clift on women in the abolition movement, featuring Mississippi exoneree and WTI Assistant Director of Membership and Training Sabrina Butler. (9/10/14) Read about Sabrina and other women abolition warriors here.
Alabama exoneree and WTI board member Gary Drinkard toured Kentucky, September 22-26, to strengthen public and legislative support for the bipartisan repeal bill in play there. Check out the whole schedule here.
Witness to Innocence welcomes the exoneration of Henry McCollum and Leon Brown in North Carolina. They are #145 and #146 in the list of official exonerations from death row in the United States. (9/3/14) Read more here.
WTI Assistant Director of Membership and Training Ron Keine debated the death penalty with noted US Appellate Court Justice Alex Kozinski on the Legal Talk Network. Actor and president of Death Penalty Focus Mike Farrell joins in, as well. (8/27/14) Click here to listen to this very lively and informative debate!
WTI Director of Membership and Training Ray Krone tells his story to readers at The Daily Caller to illustrate that the US death penalty is permanently broken and can't be fixed. (8/4/14) Read it here.
The Chicago-Sun Times in a powerful editorial calls on Illinois Gov. Quinn to grant WTI board chair and exoneree Randy Steidl a full pardon of innocence. (7/28/14) Read more here.
CNN featured an oped by Shareef Cousin, who was sent to death row as a teenager in Louisiana, in conjunction with its Death Row Stories series. (7/13/14) Read it here.
Kirk Bloodsworth took on death penalty supporter Robert Blecker on the nationally syndicated NPR show, Here & Now. (7/3/14) Listen here.
Shujaa Graham comments on supposed reforms in US death penalty standards on Al Jazeera America's flagship news program, America Tonight. (6/16/14) Watch the report here.
Al Jazeera's America Tonight show features Kirk Bloodsworth's story, "When eyes lie: The tragic weakness of eyewitness IDs."
(6/12/14) Watch both parts here.
Sabrina Butler writes how she actually lived "Orange Is The New Black" as an innocent woman on death row in TIME.com. (5/30/14) Read Sabrina's poignant oped here.
StoryCorps produced a heart-rending video on Sabrina Butler and her husband Joe Porter, "Somebody in My Corner," that everyone should see. Watch it here.
Ron Keine has an oped up on The Daily Caller, saying abolition of the death penalty should be a conservative priority. (4/30/14) Read Ron's stirring oped here.
Kirk Bloodsworth contributed to the New York Times' popular online feature, Room for Debate, on "What Does It Mean if the Death Penalty is Dying." (4/8/14) Read the whole debate here.
Damon Thibodeaux's story was featured on CBS's 48 Hours. (3/29/14) Read the transcript online here.
Sabrina Butler was interviewed by her hometown CBS station in light of the stayed execution of Michelle Byrom in Mississippi. (3/27/14) Watch the video here.
Browse our news archives for more great news and views from Witness to Innocence!
In March, when the legislature voted to repeal our state’s death penalty, I was given only three days to make what I knew was going to be one of the most difficult decisions of my career....I’ll never forget the story of Juan Melendez who spent 18 years on Florida’s death row before being exonerated for a murder he didn’t commit and who now calls New Mexico home....The fact is people continue to commit terrible crimes even in the face of the death penalty. And what no one can disagree on is the finality of the death penalty. No one understood that better than Juan Melendez and the 130 others like him who got a reprieve from death through exoneration. Ultimately my decision came down to the realization that our system is not perfect and is, in fact, inherently defective as these exonerations prove.
– Excerpt from (former) New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson's speech at Death Penalty Focus Awards Dinner, May 2009
Witness to Innocence
Witness to Innocence (WTI) is the only national organization in the United States composed of and led by exonerated death row survivors and their family members. The mission of WTI is to abolish the death penalty by empowering exonerated death row survivors and their loved ones to become effective leaders in the abolition movement. WTI actively challenges political leaders and the public to grapple with the reality of a fatally flawed criminal justice system that sends innocent people to death row. WTI also seeks ways to support death row survivors and their loved ones as they confront the challenges of life after exoneration.
Founded in 2003 by Sister Helen Prejean, internationally renowned anti-death penalty activist, and Ray Krone, the 100th person exonerated from death row in the United States, Witness to Innocence (WTI) began as a project of the New Orleans-based Moratorium Campaign Education Fund. Two years later WTI moved to Philadelphia, PA, where it transformed itself into one of the most powerful and unique anti-death penalty organizations in the United States.
Our exoneree members have educated tens of thousands of Americans through speaking events at colleges, universities, professional associations, academic conferences, law schools, faith communities, K-12 schools, and civic groups. They have testified before state legislatures, met with government officials and world leaders, and reached tens of millions of people worldwide through the media. Witness to Innocence has shifted public opinion on the death penalty, playing an integral role in successful repeal campaigns in New Mexico, New Jersey, Illinois, and Maryland.
A country that joins 140 other nations in abolishing the death penalty. A country that grants fair and speedy compensation to the wrongfully convicted. A country that puts “justice” back into the criminal justice system.
We will never forget your courage, wisdom, and love for humanity.
Visit Delbert's poetry page here.
Read tributes to Delbert's life that appeared in publications around the world, from The New York Times to The Economist, here.
(Photo by Edwin Tse)
RIP, Greg Wilhoit 1954–2014
We will never forget your courage, humor, and resilience.
Read tributes to Greg's life that appeared here and here.
(Photo by Sofia Moro)
This video of Ray Krone, director of membership and training at Witness to Innocence, is courtesy of Atlantic Philanthropies, one of our generous funders:
We want to thank our funders for their generous support. We couldn't do it without them!
We are proud members of:
To learn more about our funders and membership organizations, browse our Links & Resources page here.
Witness to Innocence wants to thank the following people and organizations for so many of the awesome videos, photos, and artwork on our website: Ashlee O Shelton, Sofia Moro, Brian Bullock, George Gull, Marc Steinberg, Resurrection After Exoneration, Daniel Bolick, Scott Langley, Maria Telesco, David Sulewski, Talila Lewis – please let us know if we have left you out!
This website has been produced as part of Witness to Innocence's Eyes Wide Open Project, generously funded and supported by the European Union.The contents are the sole responsibility of Witness to Innocence, and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union.
Witness to Innocence | 1501 Cherry St. | Philadelphia, PA 19102 | 267.519.4584