CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Exonerated Man Discusses His Time on Death Row

Kirk Bloodsworth, whose capital conviction was the first in the country to   be overturned as a result of DNA testing, will speak at 6 p.m. on Monday, November   19.

A former marine with no criminal record, Bloodsworth was wrongfully convicted   and sentenced to death in Maryland in1984 for a rape and murder that he did   not commit. He spent nearly nine years in prison before DNA testing proved his   innocence in 1993. It took another 10 years before the Maryland State’s   Attorney announced that a DNA match had identified the actual perpetrator of   the crime. That person pleaded guilty to the murder for which Bloodsworth had   been wrongfully convicted.

Bloodsworth is now the program officer for The Justice Project, a nonpartisan   organization in Washington, D.C., that addresses unfairness in the American   Criminal Justice System. He will be joined at the presentation by John Terzano,   president of The Justice Project.

The Justice Project develops and coordinates national and state-based campaigns   involving public education, litigation and legislation to reform the criminal   justice system, with particular focus on capital punishment. Bloodsworth and   The Justice Project led a five-year campaign to pass the Innocence Protection   Act in the U.S. Congress. The bill, which established the “Kirk Bloodsworth   Post-Conviction DNA Testing Program,” was signed into law in 2004.

The dramatic story of Bloodsworth’s 20-year journey is chronicled in   the book “Bloodsworth: The True Story of the First Death Row Inmate Exonerated   by DNA.” [Mark Godsey]

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