Lorenzo opens up with his supporters about his fight with cancer after returning home, and about life after wrongful conviction in the time of COVID-19.
This spring, Lorenzo was able to attend the Innocence Network Conference in person for the first time! Having heard about the conference every year while still incarcerated for his wrongful conviction, it was especially meaningful for him to take part this year as a speaker and exoneree.
Here are some photographs from the March 2018 conference in Memphis, Tennessee:
Last night, Lorenzo took part in an event at Pace Law School in New York as part of International Wrongful Conviction Day.
Here’s a video of his speech.
With no settlement from the State of Pennsylvania to compensate him for twenty-two stolen years, Lorenzo still needs our support for his reentry. If you can, please donate to support him so he can remain a voice of the innocent speaking out against injustice!
Lorenzo’s had a busy few weeks since his release on July 11. He has returned to his hometown of Yonkers, NY, rejoined his family, and started working at his old job again. He has also taken to the streets to fight for the wrongfully convicted!
On Wednesday, August 2, Lorenzo took part in a rally supporting wrongfully convicted prisoner Jon Velazquez.
From Lorenzo’s visit to his legal team in Philly last month:
Finally, Lorenzo has also kept up his Huffington Post blog. Here’s his first blog post written as a free man:
Today, July 11th, 2017, Lorenzo Johnson walked out of Dauphin County Courthouse a free man. To bring an end to the pain and suffering of his loving family, Lorenzo has accepted a deal with the PA Attorney General’s office that led to his immediate release from prison.
Thank you to all of Lorenzo’s supporters near and far. His fight to make his story known, to free the innocent, and to end all wrongful convictions goes on. This is just the beginning.
For more press coverage of today’s events, click here.
The Case of Lorenzo Johnson
Lorenzo Johnson, who has served 22 years in prison, will have a hearing seeking to overturn his conviction on July 11, 2017, before Senior Judge Lawrence F. Clark, of the Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas. Judge Clark recently ruled that he would hear a broad range of the innocence claims of Lorenzo Johnson.
Johnson had served almost 17 years in prison when he won his freedom in 2012, after the Federal Appeals Court for the Third Circuit overturned his conviction. The Pennsylvania Attorney General appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. A mere 148 days after gaining his freedom, on May 29, 2012, the United States Supreme Court, in a quick and shocking decision, without even requesting a full briefing and oral arguments, reinstated Lorenzo’s conviction and he was ordered to return to Pennsylvania to resume his sentence of life without parole, where he resides today.
Today marks the 5th Anniversary of when I turned myself back into prison for a crime I never committed.
But on July 11, 12, and 13, I will have the chance to clear my name once and for all in court!
The prosecution in my case turned over NEVER seen before Case Discovery to my legal team. This Case Discovery I speak on was withheld from me and ALL of my prior attorneys for 18½ years. Not only was the prosecution’s only witness was labeled a SUSPECT in this same murder I’ve been wrongfully convicted of, I was also furnished with a written statement from this same witness, for almost two decades I was told this witness never made a written statement. So I had to honor a police summary of this witness. Well, this statement shows my innocence and contradicts what this witness testified to from my preliminary hearing to my trial. To make a long story short, the prosecution in my case let this false testimony go un-correct from the lower court all the way up to the United States Supreme Court who relied on this testimony to Reinstate my conviction when I was a free man. This was done knowingly.
Mumia Abu-Jamal, also incarcerated at SCI Mahanoy in Pennsylvania, has recorded a new radio essay about Lorenzo:
For more from Prison Radio, check out PrisonRadio.org
by Lorenzo Johnson
First published on the Huffington Post, 3/6/17
Trapped in the bowels of a world where people are labeled the “worst of the worst,” dwell innocent prisoners. We are surrounded by criminals convicted of everything from petty crimes to multiple murders. How did we get here? Nine out of ten times, we were poor and stripped of our constitutional rights. Never once did we commit a crime—instead, a crime has been committed against us that would change our life forever.
When it came to us, the rule of “innocent until proven guilty” was reversed. If you look at the data provided by the National Registry of Exonerations, you will be shocked at how badly our criminal justice system has failed us. Then way we are treated, is as if we are less than human. At times, we wonder if the constitution even applies to us.
For those of us who are fortunate enough to eventually get exonerated, statistics show that 75% of the time, government agents were responsible for our false convictions. This is fact, not fiction. Not all government agents are corrupt, of course. However—in three out of four cases of exoneration, the actions of criminal justice officials were responsible for the injustice. If you look at the almost 2,000 (and counting) exonerations since 1989, you’ll see a lot of corruption that had been kept silent and swept under the rug.
Under the Sixth Amendment, we are all guaranteed the right to effective counsel if we can’t afford an attorney. What the Sixth Amendment hasn’t guaranteed innocent prisoners is adequate funding for our counsel. With our court-appointed laywers and public defenders being severely underfunded, we are losing before we even start.
I’m one of many innocent prisoners who has uncovered evidence of my innocence that was hidden or withheld my case prosecutor. You might think that since evidence of my innocence has been uncovered, my prosecutor would do what’s right after twenty-one years—but, no, not at all. Now, the prosecution is not fighting against my claims of innocence on their face—instead, they are relying on the issue of my claim’s “timeliness” to try and throw out my evidence of innocence.
It’s sad but, pet animals are treated better than us. We are human beings—aren’t we?