New Article by Lorenzo for the Huffington Post

Check out Lorenzo’s latest article, “When Courts are Used as a Weapon Against the Innocent.”

In it, he discusses the restrictions that innocent prisoners face in their attempts to appeal convictions and argue their cases.

He writes: “Sometimes prosecutors withhold exculpatory evidence of a defendant’s innocence, and don’t turn it over until they are forced to.” Other times, defense attorneys fail to exercise due diligence.

Lorenzo finishes by saying that “until the day comes when culprits responsible for wrongful convictions are held fully accountable — wrongful convictions will never stop.”

Be sure to read the whole article online here.

4th Anniversary of Lorenzo’s Return to Prison

A Message from Lorenzo

Exactly four years ago today, I left the comforts of my wife and family–to enter a nightmare for the second time. I drove from my residence in Yonkers, New York with one of my best friends Jeffrey Deskovic to SCI CAMP HILL in Pennsylvania, to turn myself into a Natural Life Sentence as an innocent man. For a crime they knew I wasn’t guilty of.

I can’t explain the constant pain that my family and I endure on the daily basis. This is a pain I don’t wish on anyone, not even the people who are responsible for me spending 20 years in prison for a crime I’m innocent of.

To my wife, you play MANY roles in my life, such as my partner, best friend and #1 supporter. You’re the best. As for my kids, I miss and love you dearly. My family and friends who are actively involved in my fight, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. My lead attorney Michael, a man of substance who believed in me and my innocence from day one. You know exactly where we stand.

Jeffrey Deskovic, who is like a brother to me, your support of my and my innocence are well documented. Team Free Lorenzo Johnson, thanks so much for bridging the gap to me and society-so I can continue to educate society on my in no innocence and the human being that I am. In these last four years due to my website, people in ALL 50 States and 35 different Countries have signed my Freedom Petition after reading and researching my injustice. To my supporters, I would like to thank all of you. I encourage you to stay involved.

The ball is official rolling in regards to my pending appeal. As an Innocent man, I’m not looking for leniency, sympathy or a break-because I’m not guilty. I’m looking for justice and my immediate release. Anything less than that is an continued injustice. The prosecution can now do what’s right, and right my wrong that have lasted 20 years and counting. I will be going to court very soon. I have a New judge that have been fare. I see the end of this nightmare in close sight.

For me to say that this past four years have been anything less than HELL–would be an outright lie and I would be a thief of the truth. The toll that this have taken on my family and me is truly intolerable in very aspect. I’m one of MANY who is innocent and refuse to be muzzled or silenced–to the crime that has been committed against me for being innocent.

I’m okay mentally and physically. As I await justice, I’m still writing my articles on injustice and wrongful convictions for various publications, most notably the Huffington Post. For those who have their own social networks, please feel free to share/reprint my articles. For those who can donate to help with my wife and family regular commute from New York to Pennsylvania to visit me and Etc., we highly appreciate it. For those faithful writers who take time out of your busy day to reach out to me, Thanks. Your words of encouragement to keep fighting gives me energy.

For those who are reading about my injustice for the first time, welcome to the struggle for justice.

– Lorenzo

Lorenzo’s childhood friends showing their supprt

Lorenzo and his wife Tazza

Lorenzo and his daughter Mercedes

Lorenzo and his daughter Mercedes


Jeffrey Deskovic Remembers Driving Back to Prison with Lorenzo:

I remember when I got the phone call from Lorenzo saying that the US Supreme Court had not only agreed to hear the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s appeal, but that they’d reinstated his conviction. It was a very surreal moment. I almost couldn’t believe my own ears. Having a conviction reinstated after being released is every exoneree’s nightmare, and being so close to Lorenzo, I reacted very strongly. I remember the feeling of powerlessness. Then, Lorenzo called on me to do one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do in my life – drive him back to prison. Though we tried to reach out to the media and politicians to intervene, hoping for a miracle, we couldn’t stop the judge’s order from being issued.

I picked him up around 5:30 AM in a parking lot in Yonkers. He came outside, and I could see the disturbed look on his face. We both started crying, even though we were grown men. Neither of us could believe that such an injustice had taken place, or that we were really going to do this: drive him back to prison for a crime he was clearly innocent of. Every ounce of me wanted him to run. But clearing his name was paramount for him, and that path dictated that he not run away.

We took turns driving back to the prison in Pennsylvania. Our heads were spinning. At times we made small talk because reality was too painful to keep at the forefront of our minds. We thought about the absurdity of what we were doing. We tried to buoy our spirits and tell each other that this was all only a temporary setback. Despite our own horrible experiences with the criminal justice system, we were both a little naïve. I thought that this would be finished within a few months – that an investigation could be completed quickly and Lorenzo would be back out again soon. I couldn’t imagine that he would still be in prison four years later.

At the same time, Lorenzo was fielding a lot of phone calls. People were calling him and he had to explain what was going on. In the last hour of the trip, he focused on making, rather than receiving, calls. He was saying his goodbyes to people who were important to him. I think that made the last leg of his difficult journey more difficult, because everybody he talked to said that if it were them, then they would run.

We had a final meal on the outside. We were joined by La Tasha Williams, who is an ardent supporter of Lorenzo’s. We did the best we could in a terrible situation. We tried to enjoy the meal. We took photographs. The meal seemed like a weird parallel to the Last Supper.

Lorenzo chose to drive the last five minutes of the trip. I told him he was so much stronger than I could ever be. I couldn’t have done what he was doing.
He got out of the car and went over to where the COs were waiting for him. I saw them put him in handcuffs and bring him inside the building.

As I pulled out of the parking lot, I thought about how useless the money I’d given him for commissary seemed in the overall scheme of things. I left the prison grounds and was on a public road right outside the prison. I could feel his absence. I had to stop the car to get my emotions together for about ten minutes.

In hindsight, it just seems so clear to me—as clear as the Southern sky—that only an innocent man would have done what Lorenzo did.

– Jeffrey Deskovic

Lorenzo and Jeff's last meal together before Lorenzo's return to prison. Also pictured is La Tasha Williams

Lorenzo and Jeff’s last meal together before Lorenzo’s return to prison. Also pictured is La Tasha Williams

New Article: Is There a Cure for Wrongful Convictions?

Lorenzo poses this question in his latest article for The Huffington Post.

He states: “Our criminal justice system continues to fail innocent prisoners because of the structures and statutes that legislators refuse to change.”

Later in the piece, he writes: “We are human beings whose lives have been taken for crimes we never committed.”

Read the rest of Lorenzo’s article on our site here.

Lorenzo’s Appeal Is Back in Court!

Yesterday saw an important step forward in Lorenzo’s fight for freedom. A status conference hearing was held in Dauphin County court where Lorenzo’s lawyers presented arguments for an evidentiary hearing.

Since returning to prison in 2012, Lorenzo has submitted almost 200 pages of evidence, with affidavits from over 20 witnesses, in support of his innocence. Much of the evidence was illegally suppressed at trial and withheld by prosecutors for over 18 years. Together, these documents demonstrate the wrongful conduct of the police and prosecutors that led to his false conviction.

We are still waiting to find out how the judge will rule, but we expect an evidentiary hearing to be held at long last so that Lorenzo can finally bring evidence of his innocence before the courts.

Here’s Fox43’s coverage of the hearing:

http://fox43.com/2016/05/12/20-year-old-murder-case-returns-to-dauphin-county-court/

Finally, in this critical moment, Lorenzo and Tazza need your help. Lorenzo draws strength for this fight from all of his supporters. But it is his wife, Tazza, who is in daily contact with him, reaching out to everyone that Lorenzo cannot reach as his spokesperson. It is expensive to commute from New York to Pennsylvania every other week to see Lorenzo, along with providing funds for phone calls and other necessities. If you can, please contribute to Team Free Lorenzo Johnson today and earmark your contribution, “Tazza.” Certain size T-shirts are also still available!

Stay tuned for more updates. And thank you for your support!

Free the Innocent,
Team Lorenzo

T-Shirts + Message from Tazza

Show your support for Lorenzo by wearing one of our beautiful new campaign t-shirts! If you donate $20 (or more!) to the Campaign to Free Lorenzo Johnson, we will send you a t-shirt, while supplies last. Make sure to note your size and shipping address in the comment section on PayPal, or to include this information with a check.

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Here is a message from Lorenzo’s wife, Tazza Salvatto:
My husband is innocent, FREE HIM NOW!
 
Lorenzo Johnson is a son, husband, father and brother. His injustice has been a continued nightmare for our family. Words cant explain our constant pain, I wish it on no one. Not even the people responsible for his injustice. 
 
This is about an innocent man who has spent 20 years and counting in prison. The sad thing is Lorenzo’s prosecution knew he was innocent from day one. These are the same people society relies on to protect us.
 
Not only have these prosecutors withheld evidence of my husbands innocence by NEVER turning over crucial evidence to his defense prior to trial. Now that Lorenzo’s innocence has been revealed, the prosecution refuses to do the right thing. Instead they are “slow walking” his appeal and continuing their malicious prosecution.
 
When my husband or our family speak out about his injustice, he’s labeled by his prosecutor as defaming a career cop and prosecutor. If they are responsible for Lorenzo’s wrongful conviction, why keep it a secret??? This type of corruption and bullying of families of innocent prisoners to remain silent will not be tolerated.
 
Our family is not looking for any form of leniency. Lorenzo is innocent, we want what is owed to him. JUSTICE AND HIS IMMEDIATE FREEDOM!!! 
 
                          Lorenzo’s wife,
                           Tazza Salvatto

Stolen Lives: Oppressed, Exploited, and Innocent in Prison

The latest article from Lorenzo just in

“The prosecution in my case withheld evidence of my innocence for over eighteen years. Then, instead of doing what’s right, my prosecutor blamed me for not finding this evidence sooner! He went on to state that his office had an “open-file” policy and asked why I didn’t have an affidavit signed from one of my previous attorneys stating they had never seen these documents. Now, all of my prior attorneys have signed affidavits stating they had never seen these withheld documents. 

Finally, my appeal is in front of a judge who could bring my nightmare to a close. Hopefully he will make the right ruling. But my life is only one of many lives that have been stolen. Who’s next?”

Read it in its entirety on our website here.

You can also read all of Lorenzo’s articles for the Huffington Post by clicking here.

New Way to Communicate with Lorenzo

Announcing — a new way to communicate with Lorenzo!

PA DOC has recently started contracting with a new company for an email service for prisoners. If you set up an account through the ConnectNetwork system, you can send emails to Lorenzo that he can read on his new tablet — and he can email you back! The cost is about 25 cents per page of text.

How to get set up: Instructions on how to set up this system and add Lorenzo as a contact can be found here. Please note that when you select the “institution,” you should choose “PA DOC” rather than look for Mahanoy Prison specifically. If you run into problems setting up the system, let us know and we’ll see if we can help. Also, bear in mind that these emails, like all correspondence, are monitored by prison authorities, so it can take several days for a message to get through to him, or back to you.

For other ways to contact Lorenzo, check out this page on our site.