Sunday, December 21, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Exonerated inmate makes a plea to abolish the death penalty

By
From page A1 | October 04, 2012 |

Seventeen years, eight months and one day.

That’s how long Juan Meléndez-Colón spent on Florida’s death row for a crime he did not commit. He was fully exonerated and released from prison.

“There was no physical evidence against me when I was tried, … but in the span of just one week, I was sentenced to death,” he told The Enterprise.

Evidence that prosecutors allegedly withheld eventually absolved him of charges. He will come to Davis on Sunday to share his story, which he said is an opportunity to warn people about the cruel consequences of the death penalty.

The message is one of wrongful punishment and misallocation of funding that Meléndez claims is plaguing the death row system. Community members are invited to hear him speak at 4 p.m. Sunday in the Davis Community Church Fellowship Hall, 421 D St.

“Basically, it’s all about educating people,” Meléndez said. “People need to know that the death penalty costs too much money that can be used for better training and equipment for law enforcement, so we’re arresting the right people.”

Meléndez’s visit is well timed, with voters facing a Nov. 6 ballot measure that would abolish the death penalty in California. Proposition 34 would redirect the funding spent on executing convicted prisoners into investigation of unsolved crimes.

Donna Mason, a DCC member who is involved in organizing Sunday’s event, said Meléndez’s experience is indicative of a need for the change.

“It’s just the perfect storm of everything wrong with the death penalty,” Mason said. “He was poor, a minority, he didn’t speak English. … We really need to hear his story and think about it when voting on Prop. 34.”

Meléndez will continue to make appearances in the Central Valley next week. After retelling his account of life on death row at venues in Sacramento, he will return to speak at Davis High School at noon Wednesday.

Meléndez’s visit is supported by Witness to Innocence, an organization that opposes the death penalty. The group was involved in campaigns that abolished capital punishment in Illinois in 2011, New Mexico in 2009 and New Jersey in 2007.

The intention of the speaking tour, Meléndez said, is to make this moment in history the one in which “people make this inevitable change.”

“No matter where this policy is in place, there always will be a risk of executing an innocent person,” Meléndez said. “The thing is, we can always release an innocent person, but we can never bring an innocent man back from the grave.”

— Reach Brett Johnson at bjohnson@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8052.

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Brinley Plaque honors environmental stalwart

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    What’s new at UCD? Construction projects abound

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    No-nonsense Musser voted Citizen of the Year

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Sharing a meal, and so much more

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Downtown crash results in DUI arrest

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

    March trial date set in Davis molest case

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    North Korea proposes joint probe over Sony hacking

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    AP sources: Cops’ killer angry over Garner death

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Raul Castro: Don’t expect detente to change Cuban system

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Police seek help in finding runaway twin girls

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

    Pedal around Davis on weekly bike ride

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Supplies collected for victims of abuse

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Donors, volunteers honored on Philanthropy Day

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Enterprise plans Christmas, New Year’s holiday hours

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
     
    Luminaria display planned in West Davis

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Soup’s On will benefit NAMI-Yolo

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Surprise honor is really nice, dude

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Konditorei presents free holiday concert

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    .

    Forum

    It’s not a pretty picture

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B4

     
    Google me this: Should I hit that button?

    By Marion Franck | From Page: B4

     
    E-cigs surpass regular cigarettes among teens

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

    Too late to pick a fight

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    All police need to humanize

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Are we only a fair-weather bike city?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Join us in making our world more just

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

    The electronic equivalent of war

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

     
    The Green House effect: Homes where the elderly thrive

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A11

    .

    Sports

    UCD women look to improve, despite game at No. 7 Stanford

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Second-half run spurs Aggie men to 8-1

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Stenz shines as DHS girls take a tournament title

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Aggie Manzanares not quite finished carrying the rock

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    49ers fall to San Diego in overtime

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    .

    Business

    Marrone Bio expands its product reach in Latin America

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Sierra Northern Railway names CEO

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Sink your teeth into Vampire Penguin

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, December 21, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B8