In Lamar’s case, it’s a question of whether that innocence is enough. That is the question at the feet of the Missouri Supreme Court now: whether Lamar’s innocence is enough to warrant his release from prison, or if he’ll continue to be trapped there by arbitrary rules and legal red tape.
The question is a critical one: should prosecutor’s offices have the power to come back years after a conviction and say their predecessors made a mistake? Should they have the power to correct that injustice? Should a person’s innocence alone be enough for their freedom? Or does innocence also require the perfect storm of legal loopholes and precedent?
We – and most importantly, Lamar – are still waiting on that decision.
In the case of Lamar Johnson, it’s not a question of whether he is innocent. After being wrongfully convicted of a 1994 murder, even the prosecutor’s office that sent him to prison for the last 25 years has called for his release. Extensive police misconduct has been uncovered that led to Lamar’s conviction. The true killers admitted to the crime.
INNOCENCE IS ENOUGH FOR
FREEDOM IN THIS COUNTRY
We began the #InnocenceIsEnough campaign this year, as a lead-up to the 25-year mark of Lamar’s conviction in July. That’s why dozens of supporters like you gathered with us this summer on the steps of the Dred Scott Courthouse in St. Louis, to cry out that innocence is enough. To mark that 25-year anniversary as the solemn occasion that it was – and to ask that Lamar not spend another quarter-century waiting for justice.
Lamar’s daughters spoke to the crowd with tears in their eyes, of a father that they loved, but who had been stolen from them. St. Louis circuit attorney Kim Gardner joined, and spoke of a failed system that had caged an innocent man for more than half his life. Exoneree Ricky Kidd, Lamar’s good friend, spoke of a promise he made to Lamar – when the two shared time at the same prison–that if one of the two innocent men was released first, they would come back to get the other.
At the Innocence is Enough rally, we spoke of failures. We shared in our anger at an unjust system. But we also spoke of hope–that the system in which we function would come to agree with us.
We believe innocence is enough. We know that in a just system, innocence IS enough.
Lamar Johnson’s innocence is enough in the eyes of morality, so why not in the eyes of the law?
WHEN WILL INNOCENCE BE ENOUGH?
Innocence as a concept is only as good as the people and systems that believe in it. As we’ve seen, a man can be innocent of the crime for which he’s gone to prison–for 25 years–and yet that innocence is still not enough in the eyes of the system that mistakenly put him there in the first place.
Keep the #InnocenceIsEnough campaign going - share your support for Lamar Johnson on social media and let the world know that we believe that innocence is enough for freedom in this country.