September 28, 2012 300
EXONERATED on death row.
Today, Damon Thibodeaux, who has been on death row in Louisiana since October 1997, was exonerated of the murder and rape of his 14-year old step-cousin, Crystal Champagne, making him the 300th person to be exonerated by DNA evidence in the United States, and the 18th to have served time on death row.
In recognition of this historic milestone, please invite your friends and family to join us in working for wrongful conviction reform! While we are grateful for the cooperation we received from District Attorney Paul Connick, Jr. in working with Damon’s legal team to prove his innocence, there is no question that Damon, like the other 299 DNA exonerees,
suffered terribly because of the faults in the criminal justice system.
The 300 DNA exonerees served a combined total 4,013 years in prison. In nearly half of the cases, the true perpetrator was caught. But had the true perpetrator been correctly captured in the first place, more than 130 violent crimes could have been prevented.
Fortunately, there are simple, common sense reforms that can prevent wrongful convictions and make sure law enforcement is focused on identifying the true perpetrators of crime. We owe it to the 300 men and women who have been exonerated to pass these reforms to help make sure that our criminal justice system is as accurate as possible. Fixing the system protects everyone because it ensures that the innocent go free and the real perpetrators are locked up and unable to commit other crimes.