Exonerated death row inmate to speak in Colorado Springs – Juan Melendez

June 8, 2012  Source :

Rev. Roger Butts, organizer for Coloradans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. “And God forbid we execute an innocent person.”

Juan Melendez nearly became that person. After 17 years on death row in Florida for a 1983 murder — and several denied appeals — that state’s Supreme Court finally overturned his conviction when a key witness recanted his testimony. Ten years after his release, he’s bringing his story to Colorado Springs. On Sunday evening. Melendez will speak and respond to questions at First Congregational Church, 20 E. Saint Vrain St., at 6 p.m.

“The guy is just so incredibly inspiring,” says Rev. Butts. “I have a feeling that if I spent 17 years on death row, I’d be bitter, and angry, and mean, and just a recluse or something. But this guy is so unbelievably inspiring.”

His visit is sponsored by Coloradans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, who hope to pass legislation in 2013 to make Colorado the 18th state in the union to end capital punishment. For more information, contact Rev. Roger Butts at

Check out the trailer for Juan Melendez 6446, a documentary about Melendez’s perilous journey through capital punishment’s legal apparatus.

Freed death row inmate will speak at Penn State Beaver

march, 26, 2012 source :


the public is invited to attend a free presentation by Juan Melendez at 6 p.m., Wednesday, March 28 in the auditorium of the Penn State Beaver Student Union Building.

Melendez was imprisoned on death row in Florida for almost 18 years until his conviction was overturned and he was released in 2002. Upon his release, Melendez became the United States’ 99th death row inmate to be exonerated and released since 1973. 

In his presentation, Melendez will discuss his story of injustice and wrongful imprisonment on death row as one of many problems pervasive throughout the nation’s legal system and will describe the high rate of wrongful convictions based on poverty, race, and ethnicity.

Melendez will also share how he survived his experiences while imprisoned and how he maintained his spirit while he and others worked to free him.

Since his release, he has spoken here and abroad about the crisis of wrongful imprisonment, especially on death row, and his story has been reported in French, Spanish, Italian, and Arabic.

The administration of justice program and the Beaver campus Student Activity Fee are sponsoring the presentation as part of the Unique Perspectives for Selecting Your Career Path Speaker Series.

For information, contact Larissa Ciuca, student personal and career counselor, at or 724-773-3961 or LaVarr McBride, instructor in administration of justice at Beaver, Penn State New Kensington, and Penn State Shenango, or 724-773-3866.