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Introducing Herman Lindsey!

Herman Lindsey, incoming Executive Director of Witness to Innocence, has firsthand experience of the suffering brought on by wrongful conviction as he, like all the members of WTI, endured the trauma of being an innocent person sentenced to death. In 2006, he was wrongfully convicted and spent three years on Florida’s death row before being exonerated by a unanimous verdict from the Florida Supreme Court which ruled in July 2009 that there wasn’t enough evidence to find Herman guilty of anything, much less sentence him to death, and that he did not receive a fair trial.

Soon after his exoneration, Herman joined his fellow death row exonerees in their work to abolish the death penalty and advocate for criminal legal reforms. He credits WTI with helping him to navigate life after the traumatic experience of wrongful incarceration on death row. Herman remained in Florida, received his B.A. in Legal Studies, and worked with at-risk youth. He served five years on WTI’s board, including most recently as Board Secretary. Herman also serves on the Board of Directors of Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, on the Advisory Committee of Equal Justice USA, and was an Ambassador for Represent Justice.

A dedicated advocate for those who still suffer on death rows, Herman speaks throughout the US and internationally. During the COVID 19 pandemic, to make sure this advocacy continued when in-person speaking was not possible, he created WTI’s online show "Cruel Justice,” hosting speakers on abolition and criminal legal reform. Herman is also a panelist for WTI’s Accuracy and Justice workshops where exonerees engage in facilitated conversations with prosecutors, law enforcement personnel, public defenders, judges and other criminal legal practitioners to help reduce wrongful convictions. He is a steady presence whenever death penalty or wrongful conviction legislation is looming, making sure those in power hear from people who will be directly impacted by their decisions. Advocating for innocent people like himself who are still on death rows throughout the US, Herman has said to those in authority "The problem comes in when people that have the power to correct a mistake don't take the responsibility to correct it. Put your pride down and say, ‘I'm not going to worry about my reputation.’ Because guess what? Your reputation will be greater if you find out this person was innocent, and you saved his life.”

[Photo Credit: Martin Schoeller]

Herman is the 135th person to have been exonerated from death row since the death penalty was reinstated in the U.S. in 1976, and the 23rd person to be exonerated from death row in Florida, which has the highest rate of exonerations from death row of any state in the nation. In his new role as Executive Director, Herman looks forward to working together with his fellow exonerees and WTI allies in a team effort to abolish the death penalty and achieve meaningful criminal legal reforms.


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