Press Release: More Mistakes Found In Death Row Convictions

For Immediate Release July 29, 2009

More Mistakes Found In Death Row Convictions

Within the past two weeks two more men have left a death row prison, found innocent after serving years for crimes that did not commit. These two exonerations mark #134 and #135 since 1973, and five already in the first seven months of 2009.

“The five exonerations this year demonstrate that innocent people still face a significant danger of execution in this country”, said Richard Dieter, Executive Director of the Death Penalty Information Center. Dr. Bill Connor, retired physician and medical school instructor at OHSU and President of the Board of Directors for Oregonians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (OADP) stated….”The mistakes that are made under our flawed death penalty system is amble evidence that it is time to repeal the death penalty in Oregon and other states”.

All charges were dismissed against Ronald Kitchen and he was released from prison in Illinois after spending almost 13 years on death row for murders prosecutors now concede cannot be proven. In the case of Mr. Kitchen, he had confessed to the crime after being subjected to interrogation by a police unit that used torturous tactics against the suspect.

In the second July exoneration, the Florida Supreme Court unanimously ordered that Herrman Lindsey be set free because there wasn’t enough evidence to convict him of murdering a Fort Lauderdale pawnshop worker. Lindsey’s exoneration was the 23rd in Florida since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976.

Oregon’s death row housed thirty three men at this time. Nationwide, there are over 3200 people on states’ and federal death row prisons. Since reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976 there have been 1,136 executions. Dr. Bill Long, former Willamette University Law School professor and author of a distinguished book on Oregon’s death penalty, says, “The number of mistakes and wrongful convictions are an abomination. Beyond that, we in Oregon should be looking at the tremendous cost of maintaining this fatally flawed system.. There have only been two executions in the past 30 years in the state, both men gave up their rights to appeal……yet we continue to spend millions of taxpayer dollars to have a death penalty …..its time for a change.”

For more information on the two recent exonerations, go to the web sites of the Miami Herald and the Chicago Tribune.

For more information on OADP, contact Ron Steiner, (503) 375-9218,



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