Presumed Guilty: An Extraordinary Story of Injustice, Survival, and Hope on America’s Death Row featuring Juan Melendez
March 11, 2015 | 4:30-6PM | Newkirk Alumni Center Conference Room B
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In 1984, Juan Melendez was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced
to death in Polk County, Florida based solely on the testimony of two highly
incentivized witnesses. Three separate appeals were dismissed by the Florida
Supreme Court before a stunning piece of new evidence was discovered. He was exonerated and released in January 2002, after nearly 18 years of unjust incarceration on death row.
Since then, Juan has traveled the globe to tell the story of his journey from hope to freedom. Juan was the 99th death row prisoner in the United States to be released based on evidence of innocence since 1973. Mr. Melendez
is a uniquely dynamic and exceptional speaker who shares an inspirational personal story of human resilience, courage, faith, and hope. His legal case highlights the pervasive problems that exist in the death penalty system, such as its unreliability and its unfair and unequal application to people of color and the poor.
Juan Melendez is a member of the Witness to Innocence project and his story is depicted in the internationally acclaimed documentary Juan Melendez 6446 and in One for Ten series of documentary films about innocence and death row. Juan has testified before various legislative bodies in New Hampshire, New Jersey, Maryland, New York and New Mexico.