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Tuesday, July 23, 2019
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Tag: Lorenzo Johnson

‘Intolerable’: a call to action to free Lorenzo Johnson

In the words of Lorenzo “Cat” Johnson, his situation is “intolerable.” He speaks for all innocent prisoners. It is estimated that in the United States 100,000 or more factually innocent people are in prison. Many, like Lorenzo, are on “slow death row,” serving life without parole. Action for Lorenzo Johnson’s freedom is part the fight for all the innocent in prison and a challenge to this system of injustice.

US Court of Appeals rules against Cat Johnson’s challenge to his...

Lorenzo “Cat” Johnson continues his fight for freedom. He is an innocent man serving a sentence of life imprisonment. In Pennsylvania a life sentence means just that. There is no parole, no release until you are carried out feet first or win a reversal of your conviction. And even then the struggle is to definitively defeat the prosecution’s unceasing efforts to reconvict and re-imprison.

Cat’s cries

Several days ago, the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals, sitting in Philadelphia, delivered a shocking decision in the continuing case of Lorenzo Johnson, the New Yorker recently released from 17 years in prison after the very same court found the evidence was insufficient to uphold a conviction. Lorenzo, known by family and friends as Cat, spent just over four months in freedom.

‘Cat’ returns to the cage

Lorenzo “Cat” Johnson’s story is an excruciatingly clear example of an innocent man caught in a corrupt process. The state has worked overtime to keep him locked up for life. Evidence was falsified by the police and prosecution. And when a federal appeals court ruled this so-called evidence was legally insufficient to convict, the U.S. Supreme Court stepped in and reinstated his conviction.

Innocent but wearing guilty clothes

For 16 and a half years, I fought with every breath in my body to prove my innocence. On Oct. 5, 2011, the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals vacated my life sentence on the grounds of “insufficient evidence,” which is equal to a not guilty verdict, barring a retrial. Under the appeal issue on which my conviction was overturned, I was eligible for immediate release.

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