This Week in Innocence

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

Thanks to the work of Northwestern University Law School’s death penalty clinic, another man wrongly convicted of murder walked free this week. Ronald Kitchen spent 13 of his 21 years behind bars on death row. He’s also another case of someone who falsely confessed to a murder after intense questioning from police interrogators.

Illinois has sentenced 224 people to death since reinstating capital punishment in 1977. Since then, 20 have been exonerated. I’m not sure what an acceptable rate of error in death penalty cases would be, but nine percent seems awfully high, doesn’t it?

 

Digg it |  reddit |  del.icio.us |  Fark

53 Responses to “This Week in Innocence”

  1. #1 |  J sub D | 

    He’s also another case of someone who falsely confessed to a murder after intense questioning from police interrogators.

    And people still believe that information obtained through torture is reliable.

    I want every suspect interrogation, from start to finish, recorded and made available to the defense.

  2. #2 |  David | 

    At this point, haven’t we seen enough false confession to realize that they’re fucking worthless? Well,we have, but I think it’s past time that the “justice” system stopped putting such an emphasis on them. They should be an investigative tool rather than evidence.

  3. #3 |  Mark Seven | 

    Haley Barbour has had nothing to do with this outfit, ever. This is more creating things out of mid-air just like they do with Sarah Palin. I am going to forward Balko’s insinuation on to the Gov. office and see what they have to say. Hopefully he’ll file a law suit against Balko!

  4. #4 |  Mike Leatherwood | 

    I was reading one of the AG’s review for a petition of clemency from Mr. Kitchen. Evidently, the idea that the victims were drug dealers was that the informant said so and that the police saw “drug envelopes” everywhere (which were not collected and submitted as evidence), There were no drugs found.
    So, snitch and officer honesty made the victims drug dealers. Wow.

  5. #5 |  J sub D | 

    -1 for Mark Seven for posting in wrong thread. ;-)

  6. #6 |  ktc2 | 

    I have always broken it down thusly:

    1/3 of convicts are innocent of the crime they were convicted of;

    1/3 of convicts are convicted of something that shouldn’t be a crime;

    and 1/3 actually are guilty of real crimes as charged.

    (All statistics pulled out of my ass, just a gut feeling)

  7. #7 |  scott | 

    It’s worth pointing out that Illinois is (AFAIK) the only state to have granted blanket commutations of death row prisoners. Back in 2003 then-Governor Ryan expressed enough doubt in the State’s legal system to issue a wholesale commutation to life of every Illinois prisoner headed to or sitting on death row. Of course, the Gov then headed off to prison after being found guilty of selling of favors.

    There’s really not a lot to celebrate about Kitchen’s case (he did lose 13 years of his life, after all), but at least it’s good to know that the Innocence Project hasn’t decided that commutation to life is an acceptable outcome for anyone wrongly caught up in our legal system.

  8. #8 |  Lorraine Sumrall | 

    And, this 9% exonerated is only the ones that have been proven to be innocent in Illinois as of today. There could be more.

  9. #9 |  Cynical in CA | 

    “I’m not sure what an acceptable rate of error in death penalty cases would be …”

    I know that was offered in jest, but man oh man.

    People always focus on the lotteries you want to win, like Powerball.

    The death penalty racket has to be one of the worst lotteries to win, like contracting a one in a million disease. Especially if you’re innocent, which seems to carry a one in ten chance.

    To think that most of us live with that Sword of Damocles over our heads.

    /shudder

  10. #10 |  Michael Pack | 

    The criminal justice system is about results,and results are guilty pleas or verdicts.The odds against defending yourself is quite low for the average person.The law has expanded to the point everyone is guilty of something sometime.The cost of fighting a charge drives the plea bargain mill.Being arrested after having a glass of wine can cost thousands fight.Forget health care reform,people need the ablity to to legal representation that they can afford.

  11. #11 |  Highway | 

    Wow, Cynical, your post really made a lightbulb go on in my head.

    I think you’re right. That is hanging over all of us. I know that a lot of people rationalize that threat away: Well, I live in a *good* neighborhood. Sure I break a law here and there, but they’re minor, like speeding, I’m not a criminal type. I’d never find myself in that kind of position.

    Oh yeah? How far away is any one of us from a situation where you’re home alone, or out by yourself, some crime is committed, and you could be a suspect? From there, you’re only a passing resemblance away from being fingered in a lineup. Or maybe you’re only 8 hours of badgering interrogation away from falsely confessing.

    Most of us would laugh that off. “Oh, that couldn’t happen to me, I’m just a mundane person.” Yeah, and how many of those other folks were pretty mundane people? It’s certainly enough to destroy your life.

  12. #12 |  JS | 

    Highway that was very well said!

  13. #13 |  skootercat | 

    Bad situations with police usually makes for lasting reminders, but every time someone becomes a part of the corrections system, it usually alters lives in ways most can never imagine. DOC tells us much about our society in the same way in which society treats homeless and elderly who have no family to help. Thanks for that same light bulb.

  14. #14 |  ClubMedSux | 

    Generally speaking, I look at my three years at Northwestern Law as three lost years of my life (and that’s mainly an indictment of law school in general rather than an indictment of NU), but the one thing I can look back on with pride is the summer I spent working at the Center on Wrongful Convictions. The staff attorneys do some incredible work there and could easily be making ten times what they make if they were instead working at a large law firm. The Innocence Project tends to get most of the attention (and they deserve all the attention they get) but the Center on Wrongful Convictions deserves the same accolades.

  15. #15 |  John Wilburn | 

    “Do you really think that we want those laws to be observed? We want them broken. We’re after power and we mean it. There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted, and you create a nation of law breakers – and then you cash in on guilt.”
    -Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)

    I think she was on to something…

  16. #16 |  MacK | 

    I have heard that a million and a half troops have been sent to Iraq since 2003. If we converted the deaths of those soldiers to equal that 9% rate of innocence, there would be over 136,000 service men, and women dead.

    Would we still be in this war if that was the case? To put it in perspective so far 4323 have died and over 100,000 have been wounded. That is far less then the 136,000 dead and who knows maybe a million wounded.

  17. #17 |  MacK | 

    Here is a link for some of my numbers. It does not include the total soldiers sent.
    http://www.antiwar.com/casualties/

  18. #18 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Here is how the argument goes for most people:

    Do people make mistakes? Yes. Does the government ever execute an innocent person? No.

  19. #19 |  Mattocracy | 

    Every time I use the argument that there have been so many people on death row that have been exonerated before they were executed, many death penalty supporters just shrug off it off and say, that’s liberal propaganda or that those numbers are vastly inflated. I think that’s the kind of apathy that really prevents the legal system from addressing this issue.

  20. #20 |  Judi | 

    “Capital punishment is the most premeditated of murders, to which no criminal’s deed, however calculated can be compared. For there to be an equivalency, the death penalty would have to punish a criminal who had warned his victim of the date at which he would inflict a horrible death on him and who, from that moment onward, had confined him at his mercy for months. Such a monster is not encountered in private life.” – Albert Camus

  21. #21 |  Aresen | 

    Dave Krueger # 18

    Bitterly, bitterly true. I’ve lost count of the number of times some ‘law and order’ true believer has pumped out the line “there are enough safeguards in the system to protect the innocent.”

    Their usual backup if you show them examples of innocent people wrongfully convicted is “Oh, they were probably guilty of some other crime anyways, so it’s not a problem.”

    I just wish there was a “magic empathy machine” that would make it possible for the ‘law and order’ types to experience the fear, feeling of helplessness and intimidation felt by the wrongfully accused.

  22. #22 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #21 Aresen

    Bitterly, bitterly true. I’ve lost count of the number of times some ‘law and order’ true believer has pumped out the line “there are enough safeguards in the system to protect the innocent.”

    Not to mention that the very fact that they were exonerated before they were executed proves “the system works.”

  23. #23 |  Cynical in CA | 

    #19 | Mattocracy — “Many death penalty supporters just shrug off it off and say, that’s liberal propaganda or that those numbers are vastly inflated.”

    Chilling.

    The only inflation that matters regarding death penalty “accuracy” is from zero mistakes to one mistake.

    Anything short of perfection is immoral. And a strong argument can be made that the death penalty is immoral a priori.

    It seems that, among humans, fear will trump morality every day of the week and Sunday.

  24. #24 |  Aresen | 

    I know. And the ones that were executed were all guilty. Or at least ‘they deserved it anyways’.

    IIRC, during GWB’s term as Governor of Texas, he supposedly never commuted a death sentence.

    I’d be willing to give very long odds that at least one of them was innocent of any crime, let alone the crime for which they were executed.

  25. #25 |  Aresen | 

    #23 | Cynical in CA | July 8th, 2009 at 6:14 pm
    It seems that, among humans, fear will trump morality every day of the week and Sunday.

    AND Sunday?

    Where Were You Last Pluterday?

  26. #26 |  supercat | 

    I’m not sure what an acceptable rate of error in death penalty cases would be, but nine percent seems awfully high, doesn’t it?

    What is an acceptable error rate for locking up people until they die in prison of natural causes?

    The people sentenced to death should be those whose guilt is most certain. If more than 9% of those are really innocent, what does that imply about the innocents’ percentage among those sentenced to lesser penalties?

    Personally, I suspect that an innocent man sentenced to death has a higher likelihood of being exonerated within his lifetime than one who is merely sentenced to life without parole; eliminating the death penalty increase the number of innocents who die in prison.

  27. #27 |  JohnJ | 

    “I’m not sure what an acceptable rate of error in death penalty cases would be, but nine percent seems awfully high, doesn’t it?”

    Unless you have evidence of the innocence of someone who was executed, this statement is nonsense. The appeals process is part of the judicial process. The reason why we have an appeals process is because we acknowledge that the trial process is imperfect.

  28. #28 |  Cynical in CA | 

    #26 | supercat — “The people sentenced to death should be those whose guilt is most certain. If more than 9% of those are really innocent, what does that imply about the innocents’ percentage among those sentenced to lesser penalties?”

    Just to point out, if you use the word “should” in the premise, then you must carry it forward into the conclusion.

    What the former implies is that the latter also “should” be a greater percentage.

    What is not proved is that the death penalty is applied in cases where guilt is most certain. I would like supporting data for this assertion, for I am not convinced of the honesty of American justice.

    Also not proved is the actual innocence rate among the non-death penalty prison population, though it seems plausible that it should be greater than death-row’s innocence rate, but only assuming a rational, unsuperstitious justice system.

    #27 | JohnJ

    While I’m not going to do the digging, do you actually doubt that innocents have been executed? The appeals process you describe is itself imperfect. The entire judicial system is imperfect from the individual’s standpoint. But I guess it beats the Hobbesian war of all against all.

    The statement you quoted is sensical after all.

  29. #29 |  lukas | 

    That couldn’t happen to me… I’m white.

  30. #30 |  Aresen | 

    @ # 22, Dave Krueger wrote:

    Not to mention that the very fact that they were exonerated before they were executed proves “the system works.”

    @ #23, I wrote:

    And the ones that were executed were all guilty.

    @ # 27 JohnJ wrote:

    “I’m not sure what an acceptable rate of error in death penalty cases would be, but nine percent seems awfully high, doesn’t it?”

    Unless you have evidence of the innocence of someone who was executed, this statement is nonsense. The appeals process is part of the judicial process. The reason why we have an appeals process is because we acknowledge that the trial process is imperfect.

    I think I may barf.

  31. #31 |  Dave Krueger | 

    I don’t find it particularly “appealing” that anyone would find it acceptable to accidentally tell that many people that we’re going to execute them for something they didn’t do, even given that we could also sooth their nerves with the assurance that we do have a process in place that very likely should probably maybe catch any mistakes if they are discovered within the allotted time frame and they fit into one of the allowable categories.

    Any system with checks and reviews inevitably breeds an attitude that each step can afford to be a bit sloppy because any mistakes will probably be caught during one of the other reviews. By the time the process gets close to the end, the attitude is that it couldn’t have come this far through the appeals process if the conviction wasn’t good. And when it’s finally over, guilt or innocence is no longer the issue. All that matters is that the steps were properly followed to provide the requisite “due process”.

    I see nothing wrong with adding an amendment to the Bill of Rights that says you have the right not to be executed for a crime you didn’t commit, although I’m sure that it would be only a matter of a very short time before the Supreme Court declared that wasn’t an “absolute right”.

    In an adversarial system, conviction is not a determination of guilt so much as a declaration that the prosecution won.

  32. #32 |  Lloyd Flack | 

    JohnJ,
    The appeals process primarily looks at procedure rather than substance. Once someone is convicted they have to prove their innocence rather than merely raise doubt. That looks like a recipe for letting unsound convictions be retained.

    There is also no mechanism within the legal system for investigating whether an executed individual was actually innocent. Nevertheless there have been investigations by private groups which have identified cases in which innocent people were executed. Yes, these investigations were mostly carried out by death penalty opponents. No one else is willing to put the effort in to investigate these cases. You have to look at their argument. In some cases these appear quite convincing.

    In most cases the prosecutors have not given proper rebuttals to the arguments that they have made mistakes. There is one case in Texas where the prosecutor has admitted that he almost certainly did bring about the execution of an innocent man. Here is a link to a report which details four cases where innocent people were probably executed.

    http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/organizationsORG/ncadp/images/InnocentAndExecuted.pdf

    I think you are engaged in gross wishful thinking about the legal system.

  33. #33 |  KBCraig | 

    @ #24, Aresen

    IIRC, during GWB’s term as Governor of Texas, he supposedly never commuted a death sentence.

    Please don’t take me for some kind of GWB apologist (I’m not), but the governor of Texas is very constitutionally weak. The Texas governor doesn’t have the authority to commute a sentence, only delay the execution.

  34. #34 |  Lloyd Flack | 

    People should consider the possibility that the proportion of wrongful convictions might actually be higher in capital cases than in others. There are two things that I can think of that could cause such a tendency. One is that passions run high in such cases and the likelihood of excessive zeal on the part of the prosecution will often be higher. The other is that when presented with the same evidence death-qualified juries are more likely to convict than other juries. Therenhave been experiments done which back this claim up.

  35. #35 |  Hannah | 

    Cynical in CA
    It seems that, among humans, fear will trump morality every day of the week and Sunday.

    Well when you have news reports everyday of kids being kidnapped/raped/having unspeakable things done to them, when there’s a wash of robberies, murders, stabbings ect. of course your going to have a fear reaction from the public.After all no one wants that to happen to themselves.

    And the innocents/guilt issue does work both ways. How many times has a murderer/ rapist/ pedophile been released only to commit another crime? Personally I get tired of government officials telling me that its safe now to release a pedophile, because they’ve been “reformed”. But they want to keep a track on every aspect of the pedophiles life, make sure they don’t move with in so many feet of a school/park/church ect. Ether their reformed or there not. If they’re not – keep them in prison, if they are you shouldn’t need to keep punishing them.

    Face it the whole system needs a revamp. Just like the rest of our government.

    JohnJ
    The appeals process is part of the judicial process. The reason why we have an appeals process is because we acknowledge that the trial process is imperfect.

    Tell that to this guy. JEFFREY DESKOVIC I’m sure he’d agree with you that the appeals process works. Especially in DNA evidence.

  36. #36 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #35 Hannah

    Personally I get tired of government officials telling me that its safe now to release a pedophile, because they’ve been “reformed”.

    Does that even happen?

  37. #37 |  Cynical in CA | 

    #35 | Hannah — “Well when you have news reports everyday …. Face it the whole system needs a revamp. Just like the rest of our government.”

    Yes, the government-controlled media serve the important priestly function of keeping the populace in a perpetual state of fear by menacing them with an endless series of hobgoblins, hence clamorous to be led to safety as Mencken famously wrote.

    The system needs no “revamp.” It needs demolition.

    But I have no faith in mankind, only human individuals.

  38. #38 |  Hannah | 

    Dave Krueger
    “Does that even happen?”

    Either they’ve been reformed -which is implied if not out right said and served their time, or their not and shouldn‘t be further punished. Simply by releasing them and then placing a bunch of laws further punishing them in an attempt to keep them away from children is hypocritical.

  39. #39 |  JohnJ | 

    My apologies. I didn’t realize everyone was against the entire criminal justice system on the principle that anything less than perfection is unacceptable.

  40. #40 |  Aresen | 

    JohnJ

    I you are going to put people to death, you damned well better be perfect.

  41. #41 |  JohnJ | 

    I understand your position now. I just disagree with you. I mean, I could play that game too; “If you’re going to put people in jail, you better be perfect.” I just know that that’s a ridiculously unenforceable standard. That’s why I choose to live in a society with the best criminal justice system, rather than one that is perfect.

  42. #42 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #41 JohnJ

    I understand your position now. I just disagree with you. I mean, I could play that game too; “If you’re going to put people in jail, you better be perfect.”

    You don’t see a difference in putting someone in jail and executing them? I mean, there is an irreversibility factor involved, you know?

  43. #43 |  Aresen | 

    To expand on Dave K’s # 42.

    You can compensate someone for wrongful imprisonment.

    You cannot compensate someone who is dead.

    I am not ideologically opposed to the death penalty, I simply take the position that there must be absolutely no possibility that you are executing the innocent.

  44. #44 |  Invid | 

    I disagree with the best crim justice system part – we take lawbreakers and stuff them in a cage for a few years then let them out. What possible benefit is that?

    The victims rarely get any restitution. It seems to me that truly making a person pay for their crime involves a penalty other than time in a cage.

  45. #45 |  JohnJ | 

    I hate to break it to you, but there have been countless people who’ve spent years, even their entire lives (after sentencing) in prison. You cannot compensate someone who has died after spending decades in prison.

    Bet let’s assume you’re referring to someone who’s still alive. Leaving aside the fact that you can also free someone who’s been condemned to death while they’re still alive, I don’t think you can reasonably make the case that someone who has spent sixty years in prison can be adequately compensated. All you’re really advocating is condemning someone to a slow death in prison versus a slightly quicker death after spending twenty years on death row. Why shouldn’t there also be a “perfection” standard for sentencing people to life in prison?

    There are lots of people who would choose to be executed over spending the rest of their lives in prison. A blanket ban on the death penalty is not compassionate.

  46. #46 |  supercat | 

    //The other is that when presented with the same evidence death-qualified juries are more likely to convict than other juries. Therenhave been experiments done which back this claim up.//

    Ah–I’d forgotten about that bit of state-sponsored jury tampering. While the state should be allowed to let those who don’t want to sit on death-penalty cases recuse themselves (some such people may be unwilling to impose a penalty themselves, but have no objection to having someone else do it when appropriate), barring such people from juries serves to undermine a major aspect of the jury system: if ordinary people would view a particular punishment as cruel and unusual in a particular case, that’s prima facie evidence that it is. Incidentally, forbidding jurors from knowing the sentence for a crime is unconstitutional, for the same reason.

    I would suggest, however, that in cases where the death penalty really would be appropriate, many jurors who oppose the death penalty might nonetheless find themselves willing to impose it.

  47. #47 |  Lloyd Flack | 

    #45 JohnJ,

    I agree with you about the impossibility of adequately compensating someone for a long period of wrongful imprisonment. Nevertheless there can be partial compensation. There can be no compensation at all for a wrongful execution.

    I agree with you that complete certainty is too high a standard. That way lies paralysis. Nevertheless the standard required for the death penalty should be higher than that for imprisonment. What standard should apply and can the courts ever meet that standard? I would say that the risk of killing an innocent that you ate prepared to accept should not be any greater than the risk to your own life that you are prepared to accept. That is if you are prepared to contribute to lethal retribution you should be prepared to impose that same penalty on yourself if you bring about the death of an innocent person. Seems fair. So, no I don’t think courts can ever meet the required standard, especially not under the adversary system.

    The appeal system only looks at certain issues. The legal system tries to act as if it can be much more certain in determining facts than it actually can. It will look at new evidence sometimes abeit reluctantly. It will look at errors in procedure. What it will not do is look at cases when the proper procedures were followed and it still got it wrong. It wants us to act as if this cannot happen. Finality is one of its values and finality is a lie.

    The other and even stronger reason for opposing the death penalty is the sheer cold blooded horror of the act. #20 Judi gave a quote expressing this well. By ritualizing a killing the state tries to ease the consciences of the killers. In doing so it attacks morality. This is the sort of thing that even if justified should haunt those who do it. Sometime the right thing should not bring peace of mind. People support the death penalty as an act of outrage. What the judicial system delivers is an act of sadism and this will always be the case if you inject any element of ritual.

  48. #48 |  JohnJ | 

    Thank you, Llyod. I’d like to address a major difference in our perspectives. An assumption being made is that innocence is discovered after execution in death penalty cases but before someone dies in prison in lifetime imprisonment cases. There’s really no reason to make this assumption. Lifetime imprisonment is death by imprisonment, it’s just a little slower. Inmates do not have the same life expectancy as free individuals. Nor do they have the same enjoyment of life. Putting someone in prison for life is condemning them to a slow, languishing death. Just because one refrains from putting a needle in someone’s arm does not make this less true. Finality, as you properly note, is a lie. Would it be compassionate to force convicts to engage in life-extending measures (such as caloric restriction) in order to keep them alive for as long as possible on the slim chance that they might be found not guilty?

    The state “ritualizes” the death penalty in order to emphasize the severity of the act. It would not be less cold-blooded to simply take the condemned into the woods. The state injects ritual for the exact opposite reason you suggest. This is evidenced by the fact that the removal of ritualism would make the act more sadistic, not less.

    I make no claims about the perfection of the criminal justice system, and I fully support efforts to make it better. I simply do not agree that a blanket ban on the death penalty is more compassionate.

  49. #49 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #48 JohnJ

    Putting someone in prison for life is condemning them to a slow, languishing death. Just because one refrains from putting a needle in someone’s arm does not make this less true.

    Yeah, we should execute ‘em for humanitarian reasons and the sooner the better! :D

  50. #50 |  Lloyd Flack | 

    #48 JohnJ,

    The only reason why there would be a better chance of reversing a wrongful conviction in a life imprisonment case than in a death penalty case is that there is more time for new evidence to turn up. Especially there is the opportunity for new and improved forensic techniques to be developed. There is also time for witnesses to recant their testimony or for new witnesses to turn up. Unfortunately there is the problem that the most urgent cases have first call on resources and death penalty cases are as urgent as they get. Thus life imprisonment cases are starved of resources and there is a good chance of wrongful convictions not being reversed, at least not for a very long time. The solution to this is not to impose the death penalty more frequently but to put more resources into appeals for life prisoners and to improve the appeals system.

    As for the relative humanity of life imprisonment ant the death penalty, well, neither can be humane. I would reserve life without parole for the very worst cases. I fear that both the death penalty and life without parole are being used in cases were neither would be justified. Politicians and prosecutors have too much to gain from draconian penalties. While there are cases which deserve the death penalty I believe the price is too high.

    With the death penalty you are in a bit of a cleft stick. To make it more humane you have to carry it out promptly. To not do so is, well, torture. But to carry it out promptly increases the risk of killing an innocent.

    Sadism does not enter into the death penalty by intent but the ritualization leads to it creeping in. Ritualization, rehearsal and complicated preparation mean people spend a lot of time focused on killing. I would think that would be where it comes in. Also in some jurisdictions they insist that a person be conscious when the sentence is carried out and if he faints from terror they will make sure he is conscious when they kill him. How is this not sadistic? Also they try their utmost to stop someone committing suicide before they can kill them. They want the experience of killing. Yes they want to be the agents of justice. I would think that a decent person would be relieved when they are spared the necessity of carrying out such a loathsome task. If they don’t find it loathsome then there is something wrong with them.

    But the important thing is to make the appeals system look at substance as well as procedure. Except in the most blatant cases it does not do so. As well, a game players idea of fairness creeps into the legal system. Both sides think they are entitled to a sporting chance of winning and both use the argument that the other side had their chance when trying to defend a result in their favour. They use this even when they are trying to maintain an injustice. Also what trust can be placed in secret deliberations. I see jury inscrutability as a corrupt idea. Yes, it can allow justified jury nullifications. It can also allow unjustified jury nullifications. And it facilitates the utter stuffing up of the appeals system since the criterion is not “Did the jury get it right?” but “Can we give a rationalization for the jury’s verdict?”.

  51. #51 |  The Liberty Papers »Blog Archive » Ronald Kitchen: The Latest Death Row Exoneree | 

    [...] Balko made the following observation at his blog: “Illinois has sentenced 224 people to death since reinstating capital punishment in 1977. Since [...]

  52. #52 |  Capital Defense Weekly » Blog Archive » oopsie part deux | 

    [...] via Radley: Thanks to the work of Northwestern University Law School’s death penalty clinic, another man wrongly convicted of murder walked free this week. Ronald Kitchen spent 13 of his 21 years behind bars on death row. He’s also another case of someone who falsely confessed to a murder after intense questioning from police interrogators. [...]

  53. #53 |  Capital Defense Weekly » Blog Archive » weekly edition | 

    [...] Innocence List will allegedly reach 135 exonerees with additions of Ronald Kitchen from Illinois and Herman Lindsey from Florida.  Exonerated last week, these two men bring  [...]

Leave a Reply