Incarceration Nation

Cosmic Bout! Down, But Not Out for the Count!

By Torrey Real

Ladie-e-e-e-s an-n-n-d Gen-tle-men! ln this corner, weighing in at roughly 6,255 days of incarceration: the humble yet #1 ranked contender (#1RC) of Pennsylvania (by way of Yonkers, New York); champion of the oppressed; the prince of persuasion; and pioneer of perseverance; the one, the only—Lorenzo “[Thunder] Cat” Joh-h-h-h-n-son! And, in the other corner, an “entity,” so formidable, so notorious, revered by the rich and powerful, and equally misunderstood, or loathed, by the little man; an opponent, who truly needs no introduction.

Yes people, the fight is back on. And it’s gonna be one hell of a rematch.

News reported from the man himself. The saga continues; but this time, Cat’s pulling no punches. Heavily armed with “newly-discovered evidence” (NDE), he’s ready to take down his opponent—once and for all. Grab your popcorn, grab your tickets, and stay tuned. We all know who we came to see win, this truly momentous, and breath-taking bout; which could have an overwhelming effect on future long-term/life-serving candidates eligible for case review, parole, and other related matters. But first, let’s take a moment, and recap the events, which led up to this monumental engagement.

For those unfamiliar with Lorenzo “Cat” Johnson’s story: This is a case of actual innocence; a man convicted of murder in ’95, serving a life sentence, with his freedom—and potentially others’—hanging in the balance. His conviction was based on evidence so insubstantial, several justices found it lacking, deficient, inadequate, and would have annulled Mr. Johnson’s imprisonment. Commonwealth v. Lorenzo Johnson, (Pennsylvania Superior Court, 1998). Unfortunately, the lion’s share were not of the same sentiment, and Lorenzo had to “endeavor to persevere.”

Thirteen long, trying, and painstaking years later, some light was shown in his direction. This benevolent beacon of excellence came from the United States Court of Appeals, after reviewing what they also found to be insufficient cause to sustain or uphold Mr. Johnson’s conviction. Johnson v. Mechling, 2011 (Third Circuit, October 4, 2011.) 0n January 18, 2012, he was discharged from SCI Camp Hill—released on his own recognizance, by the Honorable John E. Jones. Johnson v. Mechling, (M.D. Pennsylvania.) However, the celebration was short lived.

No one, I mean no one, could fathom what happened next—unless they had the imagination of the legendary George Lucas. What I, and many others viewed as an abominable, Machiavellian, devious and dastardly deed; cleverly crafted, and swiftly executed, happened on May 29, 2012. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari and reversed the decision of the Third Circuit. Narrow technicalities pertaining to the employment of the federal habeas corpus statute, is what this despicable decision was based on. Coleman v. Johnson (2012). Following this ruling, Judge Jones ordered that Mr. Johnson turn himself back in by June 14, 2012. Speculation would lead me to believe that his hands were genuinely tied in this matter. Nonetheless, a disheartening event, which is comparable to the effect of finding out that the “Death Star” was still fully operational in the epic movie of director Irvin Kershner’s, The Empire Strikes Back (1980.) For it was such a malevolent and cosmic blast to a praise-worthy and magnanimously-majestic ruling, which came before it, you couldn’t help but feel a strong disruption in “the Force.”

Even after receiving the grotesque and gut-wrenching order that was handed down, Mr. Johnson turned himself in, understanding that if failed again by the system, he would be spending his remaining existence behind bars.

Notwithstanding the tactic used against him, Cat is confident in two things:

  1. The exculpatory newly discovered evidence, including sworn affidavits both from a member of the Harrisburg Police Department assigned to investigate the shooting, and lay witnesses, which prove that the Commonwealth is in violation of some fundamental duties and rights; and,
  2. The ability of his current legal counsel to properly represent him, unlike the trial attorney who made a muck of her first murder case.

Well folks, I have to tell you, I’m extremely eager to see the outcome of this proverbial “David v. Goliath” bout. In parting, I’ve got to ask our #1RC the million dollar question at the forefront of most peoples’ minds. His reply was altruistic, as well as unpretentious:

Torrey Real: Cat, some say it was foolish of you to come back. Clearly, people have doubts having confronted similar beasts of oppression armed with extravagant resources, sharp maneuvers, and bombastic legal jargon, which, thus far, seems to be working in their favor. What is it in your constitution that gave you the strength to come back?

Lorenzo Johnson: My innocence. My family. My supporters. And my unwavering faith in humanity. I’ve fought too hard and have come too far—me, and those I advocate for—to have it all erased and chalked up to another regret of the Courts/Powers: having granted favor to an individual, only to turn around and give me another slap in the face. Judge Jones and those who attested to my good and honest character had faith in my recognizance. So I stand as the example for those that come after me, as I carry on the torch of those who set the proper example before me.

For more information:

Write to Cat at:

Lorenzo Johnson #DF-1036

301 Morea Road

Frackville, PA 17932

Write to Torrey:

Torrey Real #EL-1916

301 Morea Road

Frackville, PA 17932