It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of another of our extraordinary exoneree members, Greg Wilhoit, who passed away in his sleep on February 13. He was 59 years old. Greg devoted his entire being to abolition when he got off Oklahoma's death row in 1991, and finally exonerated in 1993. His sister, Nancy Vollertsen, sits on the board of Witness to Innocence, so his loss has hit us doubly hard. RIP, Greg. You fought the good fight, and we will continue the struggle in your and Delbert Tibb's honor. Read WTI Executive Director David Love's moving tribute to Greg here.
Media coveragge of the death penalty case of WTI Advocacy Director Kirk Bloodsworth is examined in depth in this new, riveting investigative piece by The Crime Report. Explosive details on how sensational media can send innocent people to prison, and evento death row, like Kirk. Read more here (PDF).
Damon Thibodeaux schools the US Senate Judiciary Committee in DC on the horrors of solitary confinement on death row. (2/25/14) Read more here.
The exoneree members of Witness to Innocence spent a triumphant long weekend in Delaware, February 20-23, working with The DE Repeal Project in support of Senate Bill 19, which calls for the end of the death penalty in The First State. Read more here.
Our exonerees are proud to be the stars of a featured roundtable discussion, "Voices of the Exonerated," at the 51st annual meeting of the prestigious Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, held this February 19-22 in Philadelphia. Shareef Cousin, Randy Steidl, and Kirk Bloodsworth will share their stories, and WTI board member Dr. Saundra Westervelt will serve as a discussant. The roundtable was organized by Dr. Scott Vollum, a long-time supporter of our exoneree members and professor of sociology-anthropology at the University of Minnesota Duluth.
WTI Advocacy Director Kirk Bloodsworth wrote this great op-ed for the Memphis, TN, paper, The Commercial Appeal, on his case and WTI Director of Membership and Training Ray Krone's, and called for the repeal of the death penalty in Tennessee. (2/3/14) Read it here.
Join Witness to Innocence and DE Repeal, for WTI's
Delaware Initiative Kick-Off Event: A catered reception at the
Delaware Theatre Company in Wilmington, DE, followed by a performance of The Exonerated, which features the stories of WTI members Dave Keaton and the late Delbert Tibbs. Reception
starts at 6pm, and the play begins at 8pm. The reception is FREE, and
tickets for the play start at only $35. And the best part is, if you type
in "WTI" in the coupon code box, DTC will donate $10 to us for every ticket
sold!Visit here to purchase tickets today!
WTI Advocacy Director Kirk Bloodsworth was on CCTV to talk about the death penalty in the wake of Edgar Tamayo's execution in Texas. (1/22/14). Watch video here.
WTI Board Vice-Chair Shujaa Graham visited New Hampshire over the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday to rally the repeal troops, as the Granite State gets another chance to finally abolish the death penalty. (1/21/14) Read more here.
Ray Krone, WTI director of membership and training, testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee in Kansas on Tuesday, January 21, against SB 257, which would speed up the appeals process on death penalty cases. (1/21/14) Read more here.
Witness to Innocence and the abolition and social justice movements mourn the loss of Delbert Tibbs, WTI's assistant director of membership and training. WTI Executive Director David Love eulogizes Delbert here at the Huffington Post, and Andrew Cohen of The Atlantic memorializes him here - both are moving tributes to Delbert's impact on the lives of all he touched, and to his legacy in the organized quest for justice and equality in the world. (12/3/13)
Sabrina Butler was sharing her story, as the only woman to be exonerated from
death row in the US, at high schools and colleges from western to eastern
Kentucky, November 17-26. Sabrina's tour of the Bluegrass State was hosted by
the Kentucky Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty and the ACLU of Kentucky. Read story here.
Herman Lindsey and Seth Penalver making waves on Florida's death penalty in
Gainesville. (11/3/13) Read article here.
WTI Executive Director David Love calls on Gov. Quinn in Illinois to pardon exoneree Randy Steidl in Huffington Post. (10/31/13) Read article here.
Witness to Innocence welcomes the nation's 143rd exoneree from death row, Reginald Griffin of Missouri. (10/31/13) Read WTI's press statement on his release here.
WTI Executive Director David Love writes on the Jimmy Dennis case in Pennsylvania at the Huffington Post (10/3/13). Read article here.
WTI is proud to be a co-sponsor of the Ohio One For Ten 2013 Tour during the month of October, which will feature Joe D'Ambrosio, Damon Thibodeaux, and Delbert Tibbs and their "One For Ten" short docs. The co-director of the docs, Will Francome, will also be on hand. For a complete schedule of this exciting tour, visit here.
Kirk Bloodsworth's op-ed on the 20th anniversary of his release in over a dozen media outlets around the country and Canada! (7/8/13) Read more here.
Juan Melendez and Kirk Bloodsworth on innocence and the death penalty in Australia's The Age. (7/8/13) Read more here.
WTI Advocacy Director Kirk Bloodsworth releases statement on the 20th year anniversary of his exoneration from death row. (6/28/13) Read more here.
Sabrina Butler shares her story nationally on Morning Express with Robin Meade on HLN TV (6/9/13) Watch video here.
Juan Melendez on CNN en Espanol on popular Cafe CNNE morning. (5/31/13) Watch video here.
The exoneree Gathering in Atlanta 5/30-6/2 got huge coverage in the worldwide Spanish language press. Read more here and here and here.
WTI exoneree members Seth Penalver and Herman Lindsey deliver letter to FL Gov. Scott's office calling on him to veto the Timely Justice Act. (5/30/13) Read more here.
Juan Melendez is on-target in the Huffington Post on Florida's Timely Justice Act. (5/16/13) Read more here.
Herman Lindsey and Seth Penalver featured on CNN leading the fight in Florida against Timely Justice Act. (5/15/13) Read more here.
WTI Executive Director David Love in The Nation on how our exoneree members are ending the death penalty. (5/13/13) Read more here.
Witness to Innocence formally launches its Philadelphia Moratorium Campaign and is covered by local media! (5/4/13) Read more here.
Witness to Innocence has officially launched its Philadelphia Moratorium Campaign to end the death penalty in our very own City of Brotherly Love. (5/4/13) Read more here.
Congratulations to Kirk Bloodsworth, Shujaa Graham, and all our partners for the great victory in Maryland! Listen to Kirk's take on the Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC. (5/2/13) Watch video here.
Browse our 2013 News Archive 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 is the nation’s only organization composed of, by, and for exonerated death row survivors and their loved ones. By engaging them in public education programs, direct action, and legislative and media work, we work to empower our exoneree members to be leaders in the stuggle to end the death penalty in the United States, and to actively challenge the public to grapple with the reality of a fatally flawed criminal justice system that sends innocent people to death row. We also provide peer support for death row exonerees, and campaign for federal compensation for them.
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 the organization 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!
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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.
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