Incareration Nation

Lorenzo Johnson is Waiting!

Where’s the Justice, Attorney General Kathleen Kane?

By The Campaign to Free Lorenzo Johnson

Eighteen years ago the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s (AG) office prosecuted Lorenzo Johnson for a murder he did not commit. He was in NYC at the time of the Harrisburg, PA murder. The AG’s office is responsible for Johnson being re-incarcerated after his conviction was overturned and he was released from prison two years ago. Lorenzo Johnson continues the fight for his exoneration and freedom. 

On December 18, 2013, Johnson’s supporters delivered over 1000 petition signatories to PA Attorney General Kathleen Kane and held a press conference demanding Johnson’s immediate release from prison and dismissal of the charges. The response was, “Attorney General Kane is always interested, in every case, in justice. If there is new evidence or information, we are interested in that.”

But Lorenzo Johnson is still waiting.

A Petition for Post Conviction Relief (PCRA) was filed in August 2013 with new evidence of Johnson’s innocence, police and prosecutorial misconduct and information on the identity of the actual killer. A similar petition was filed in the U.S. federal courts. In its response to the federal petition, the AG’s office argued that Johnson’s new evidence should be rejected, without even holding an evidentiary hearing.

Johnson’s lawyers had a meeting with reps of the AG’s office on January 29, 2014, who again promised to “investigate” the new evidence in Johnson’s petitions. Another supplemental PCRA was filed March 3, 2014 with yet more evidence of state misconduct.

But Lorenzo Johnson is still waiting.

Not even the first eight pages of suppressed police reports, or the statements made to police by the main prosecution witness, demanded by Johnson repeatedly since his trial almost two decades ago, have been released by the Attorney General’s office. Based on the new evidence obtained, these reports likely include proof that the prosecution’s key witness was coerced by police to lie against Johnson.

As recounted by veteran journalist Linn Washington in an article on prosecutorial prejudices and misconduct,

“[PA Attorney General] Kathleen Kane’s office, perpetuating an outrageous injustice, is battling to sustain the life sentence of Lorenzo ‘Cat’ Johnson, convicted of being at the scene of a 1995 murder but having no role in that shotgun slaying.

“The federal 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, in October 2011, freed Johnson from prison, after nearly 16 years. That appellate court found ‘insufficient evidence’ to support Johnson’s conviction. But the PA Attorney General’s Office appealed Johnson’s release. The U.S. Supreme Court reinstated Johnson’s conviction forcing his return to prison in June 2012. One issue in this long legal battle is misconduct by police and prosecutors (from the AG’s office) who withheld evidence of Johnson’s innocence at trial and during a string of appeals.” (“Pa Prosecutors Parry on Prejudice,” OpEd News, March 29, 2014.)

The Campaign to Free Lorenzo Johnson will not stop until Lorenzo is exonerated and free. The fight for Lorenzo Johnson is part of the fight for the tens-of-thousands of innocent men and women who have been falsely convicted. On March 14, 2014 the Sixth Annual Freedom March for the Wrongfully Convicted, organized by Mary Ann Lubas, was held in Washington, PA. On April 9, 2014 a Wrongful Conviction press conference took place on the steps of the New York City Hall, called by victims of former Brooklyn Detective Louis Scarcella and joined by family members of others who are innocent and imprisoned, including Lorenzo Johnson.

The message should be loud and clear, as Lorenzo Johnson has stated: “A second is too long to be in prison when you are innocent, so years imprisoned is intolerable.” His statement to these protests: “We (Innocent Prisoners) ask everyone to speak out against Injustice. It’s going to take ALL of us to combat this Machine of Injustice.”

Hold the date: A protest is being planned to Demand Freedom for Lorenzo Johnson and Against Wrongful Convictions. Place: Harrisburg, PA on May 29, 2014—the two-year anniversary since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated Lorenzo Johnson’s conviction.

Sign Lorenzo Johnson’s Freedom Petition:

Contribute to help Lorenzo Johnson’s wife and family members continue to visit and for the cost of this campaign to free him:

Write to:

Lorenzo Johnson DF 1036

SCI Mahanoy

301 Morea Rd.

Frackville, PA 17932

EMAIL: Lorenzo Johnson through

code: Lorenzo Johnson DF 1036 PA DOC