New trial ordered for man who has spent 17 years on Oregon’s death row

Oct. 6, 2021 Jesse Lee Johnson was convicted of aggravated murder in 2004. He’s always maintained his innocence. The Oregon Court of Appeals has ordered a new trial for a Black man who has been on death row for 17 years. The court said in Wednesday’s ruling that evidence that never made it into Jesse Lee Johnson’s 2004 trial was the fault of poor defense counsel at the time. That evidence consisted of a witness to the decades old Salem homicide. The Court of Appeals also ruled that the judge who oversaw Johnson’s post-conviction case wrongly found the evidence would not have changed the conviction at trial. “This was a case where there were a series of mistakes that led to this injustice,” said Ryan O’Connor, Johnson’s attorney. “Systemically, it’s a recognition of the way police misconduct and racism cause wrongful convictions and injustice.” The Oregon Department of Justice has 35 days to decide whether to appeal to the state Supreme Court. Otherwise, the case will head back to Marion County where the district attorney’s office will complete a review before deciding whether to retry the case. Read More   

Follow Us on Twitter


Follow Us on Google+


Watch OADP's Videos