Wednesday, July 08, 2009

The Exoneration of Ronald Kitchen

On Tuesday, July 07, 2009, 43-year-old Ronald Kitchen, who confessed under extreme physical duress to a taking part in five murders 21 years ago, was exonerated and freed from prison. The confession was extracted by Detective Michael Kill, who worked under Commander Jon Burge. Kitchen spent thirteen of his 21 years behind bars on death row.

Of 224 men and women sentenced to death under the current Illinois death penalty law, which was enacted in 1977, 20 have now been exonerated and released—an error rate of nearly 9 percent.

Kitchen was represented by Thomas F. Geraghty amd Carolyn E. Frazier of Northwestern Law School's Bluhm Legal Clinic and Mark Oates and Angela Vigil of Baker & McKenzie. Reeves was represented by Michael J. Gill and David D. Pope of Mayer Brown.

In this video, Ronald and his lawyers from Northwestern Law School talk about his case.

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The Chicago Public Radio reports that Kitchen and his co-defendent Marvin Reeves will ask the court for certificates declaring them innocent. A spokewoman for the Illinois Attorney General's office says they'll likely support that request.


dudleysharp said...

Fact checking is important.

308 have been sentenced to death in Illinois since 1977.

"Exonerated", as used in the article, is a product of a long standing anti death penalty deception, which uses definitons of "exonerated" which have nothing to do with actual innocence.

This has been, widely, uncovered by the New York Times, and others, who have concluded that these false exonerations claims are 70-83% in error.

The 130 death row "innocents" scam

Susanne said...

Hi Dudley,

the list of exonerees which (at the moment) states 133 exonerated people is made by the DPIC.

Only a few days ago we posted a statement by Richard Dieter on how they get to this number - see:

It states here that

Defendants must have been convicted, sentenced to death and subsequently either-
a) their conviction was overturned AND

i) they were acquitted at re-trial or
ii) all charges were dropped
b) they were given an absolute pardon by the governor based on new evidence of innocence.

And there is one sentence I can absolutely agree to because this is something which is used all over the world:

The state has to prove someone's guilt and as long as this is not proven, the person is to be considered innocent.

If anyone insists on people having to prove their innocence or will be seen as being guilty, this person is turning our whole justice system upside down.

And it seems that the Justices of the US Supreme Court do agree to this list or they wouldn't have referred to it, would they? And I would believe that these Justices do know a bit about American Law and about how to apply it...

Please read the above mentioned post with statement of the DPIC for more information on how to see the word exonerated.


dudleysharp said...


We all know what this "innoence" debate is about.

It is about the occurrences of sentencing the actually guilty to death row and what that means to the probability of executing an actually innocent.

It is not about anything else.

It is, impossible, by definition, to execute a legally innocent person.

I think it is better to be clear and specific.

As opposed to being intentionally misleading and nebulous, as Dieter has been, for a long, long time.

This debate and concern is all about executing the actually innocent.

dudleysharp said...

Obviously, I meant:

It is about the occurrences of sentencing the actually "innocence"

Susanne said...

Opposed to what you say, the US Supreme Court does not seem to believe that Richard Dieter is intentionally misleading and nebulous or it would not use the data Dieter states.

I am NOT American but for me the US Supreme court is one of the most important bodies of the American legal system, so if they state something, it does have some value to me. Reading what you wrote it seeems to me that you do not hold the Supreme Court as high as I do although I believe that you are American.

As long as anyone is NOT convicted of a crime this person IS to be considered innocent. Anything else would be a perversion of justice.

Picking where one can use this statement and where it is not to be used (as you seem to do it) does not seem very accurate to me.

Therefore I do agree to the List of the Death Penalty Information Center and believe that these criteria can be used in any case. (Even in cases you might not like them)

As far as the risk of executing an actually (and not legally - I agree with you, a legally innocent person can not be executed) is concerned, I agree with Jay Burnett, former Harris County criminal court judge. "There's no question, in my mind, that someone has slipped through the cracks and that an innocent person has been executed."

But naturally there are also people who would agree with Robert H. Macy, who was the OK County District attorney for 21 years and stated publicly that executing an innocent person is a sacrifice worth making in order to keep the death penalty in the United States.

Even you agree that there are some actually innocent people who were exonerated (although I still hold it as a perversion of justice that someone has to prove his innocence and can not count on being seen as innocent until proven guilty!). If your number should be 30 people, this is about 3% of the number of executions in the US - still a pretty high procentage, isn't it?

I believe the distinction between what is appropriate and what not is something every person has to make with their own conscience: Is it really a sacrifice worth making to take the risk of executing even ONE innocent person in order to keep the death penalty in the US?

dudleysharp said...

If you are going to use SCOTUS, you should know that the court has recognized that there is a distinct and obvious difference between the actually innocent (No connection to the murder) and the legally innocent.

They make that recognition for the same reasons that most of us do, by law, reason and common sense we know it to be true.

There is very extensive legal dissussions about this with SCOTUS and the lower courts, just as there is, every day, within law schools and general conversations.

For example, do we all know that actually innocent people are found legally guilty.

Of course, we all do.

Just as we all know that actually guilty people are found legally "not guilty" just as guilty people are, quite, often released.

If you are unaware of this, I hope you are, now, better infomed.

Dieter and every other anti death penalty expert and every pro death penalty expert, that I know, is very much aware of these facts.

Again, clarity is important.

It is impossible to execute a legally innocent person.

The ONLY real concern in this innocence discussion is

1) How many actually innocent people are we sending to death row and
2) From there, how does that effect the probability of executing an actually innocent person.

Therefore, we must have and honest and clear discussion of actual innocence and not the blantant deception of Dieter and many others.

Do you agree or not?

dudleysharp said...

I agree with Judge Burnette as well.That has always been my position.

There are, of course, two sides to the innocence debate, as there all to all debates.

Usually, the anti death penalty folks only look at one side.

1) What is the risk of executing an actually innocent person. BTW, there is no doubt but that death penalty folks are ONLY speaking of executing an ACTUALLY innocent person (another dig at the adp "exonerated" deception.

The other side of this arguement is

2) What is the risk to innocents if we don't execute?

Both sides need to be reviewed.

My take.

"The Death Penalty: More Protection for Innocents"

Thank you, as always, for the forum.