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John Restivo, Long Islander wrongfully convicted 16 years, speaks out!

NEW YORKERS AGAINST THE DEATH PENALTY
www.nyadp.org

Abolitionists:

The powerful testimony below of John Restivo, a Long Island man who spent 16 years in prison before being found innocent, is featured today in the NY Daily News. If you think that wrongful convictions and the death penalty are threats only in Texas, think again. Long Island alone has had 5 exonerations, and New York State is one of the leading offenders: 23 persons have been found innocent.

We keep making steps closer to abolition in New York, but we’re not there…A death penalty bill was just passed by the Senate without ANY provision to protect the innocent…we need more action!

5-minute ACTION (really!)
**PRINT OUT JOHN RESTIVO’S STORY

** MAIL IT/ FAX IT TO YOUR NY STATE Senator (Not Hillary or Chuck!) and/or
assemblyman. If you have one stamp to give, go for the Senator.

**Attach a brief letter, and TELL THEM YOU DO NOT WANT THE DEATH PENALTY BROUGHT BACK IN NEW YORK.

Who are my reps? Go to http://www.vote-smart.org/index.htm or, e-mail me ATALANTA26pt2@YAHOO.COM your full mailing address and zip.

Did you do this action? Let me know! ATALANTA26pt2@yahoo.com

In solidarity, and thanks for all you do!
~Colleen Eren, Organizer

TAKE IT FROM A FREED MAN: DEATH ROW MUST GO!
NY DAILY NEWS

By: JOHN RESTIVO.

The numbers are scary. The United States had its 200th DNA exoneration in April. That’s 200 innocent people who lost years of their lives. How many more innocent people have to be convicted before everyone sees the connection between this shameful record and the likelihood that someone like me will be executed?

Yes, me. I was wrongfully convicted of murder and rape and sentenced to 33-1/3 years to life. My nightmare has lasted for more than 20 years. New York did not have the death penalty when I was convicted, so I am lucky to be alive.

In the winter of 1984, I owned a small business, my fiancée and I had just bought a new home and we were expecting our first child. Six months later, two of my friends and I were charged in the rape and murder of a Long Island teenager. In 1987, I was convicted in Nassau County and sentenced to 33-1/3 years to life. In 2003, I was released when DNA evidence proved that my co-defendants and I were innocent. I had served 16
years in prison. If New York had the death penalty when we were convicted, my appeals would have run out long before my innocence could be established. You would not be reading this now. I would be dead.

My case was typical of many wrongful convictions. It involved overheated news coverage, intense public pressure on the police to solve the crime quickly, a coerced confession, jailhouse snitches lying on the stand and misconduct by forensic investigators who testified for the prosecution.

I fought for DNA testing every step of the way. DNA is available in very few homicides. It just doesn’t exist. It is found at less than 10% of all murder scenes. It cannot guarantee that someone like me, innocent but convicted, will not be executed.

New York State is near the top of the list in wrongful convictions uncovered with DNA evidence. There are 23 of us. New York also has exonerated at least three other men with other kinds of conclusive evidence. On Long Island, where I am from, there have been five DNA exonerations.

Who knows how many more we will see in the future? Who knows how many innocent people are still locked up?

I know that the death penalty takes away precious resources that could help protect our communities and improve the entire criminal justice system. The death penalty is no deterrent. I met murderers while I was in prison. Some of them committed their crimes while New York had a functioning death penalty system. None of them figured they would be caught and they certainly were not deterred by the death penalty.

I’ve met people whose loved ones have been murdered. They’ve told me about the pain that the long legal process puts families like theirs through when a death sentence is imposed. The fact is that the appeals system doesn’t look at innocence issues unless constitutional standards were violated in the original trial.

I believe that most people are decent and want to do what is right. What is not right is for politicians to grandstand instead of looking long and hard at why the death penalty just doesn’t work.

2 Responses

  1. I TRUELY UNDERSTAND HOW YOU FEEL. I WAS WRONGFULLY CONICTED IN NASSAU COUNTY. THEY ARE CORRUPT. THE BAR NEVER MET THE INDICTMENT AND THEY CONVICTED ME OF LIEING TO A DETECTIVE WHICH EVEN ON THEIR THEORY IS NOT A CRIME. MY HEART AND PRAYS GO OUT TO ANYONE WHO HAS TO DEAL WIYH THEM . THEY ARE THE DEVIL.

  2. i am involved now with a case of a friend that was also indictment in 1979 we are fighting with the DA but we are getting no where so who even can contact me regarding this matter please do so email me sales@kingdomlightingusa.com
    i would really like to speak to someone about this case!

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