Juan Melendez, exonerated from Florida’s death row, will kick-off a state wide tour in Spokane speaking on his experience as an innocent man on death row and life after exoneration.
Sunday, September 25th
Monday, September 26th
721 N Cincinnati St, Spokane, WA 99220 5:30pm
On January 3, 2002, Juan Roberto Melendez, an innocent man, was released from Florida’s death row after seventeen years, eight months and one day. Unfortunately, although his case is unique on its facts, the circumstance of being innocent and on death row is, shamefully, anything but unique. Upon his release, Juan became the ninety-ninth death row inmate in the country to be exonerated and released because of innocence since 1973. The number currently stands at one hundred and thirty-eight.
Juan’s story is one of supreme injustice and his legal case highlights all of the endemic and pervasive problems of the death penalty, including its high risk of being imposed on the innocent, its almost exclusive application to our most vulnerable and defenseless citizens—the poor—and its unfair and disproportionate application on the basis of race and ethnicity. However, his story is also a profoundly personal one: A story of survival where the human spirit triumphs over the oppressive forces of dehumanization, degradation and death.
Upon his release from death row, without bitterness, anger or hatred towards those responsible for wrongfully convicting and sentencing him to death, Juan Melendez has traveled throughout the United States speaking to audiences about his story of supreme injustice.