It’s the worst possible nightmare for many of us: being imprisoned for something we didn’t do.
But it happens far more often than most would like to believe. According to the Innocence Project, there have been 333 post-conviction exonerations based on DNA evidence in the United States.
Thirty states and the District of Columbia have laws on the books directing compensation for victims of wrongful imprisonment; Kentucky is not among them.
Journalist Reuven Fenton has chronicled 10 stories of people who were wrongfully imprisoned in his new book, “Stolen Years: Stories of the Wrongfully Imprisoned.”
One of them was a man from the Highlands in Louisville.
Kerry Porter was convicted of the 1996 killing of local truck driver Tyrone Camp; 15 years later, he was exonerated by former Commonwealth’s Attorney Dave Stengel after testimony from a government witness implicated someone else.
Porter was a complex subject for Fenton, in part because he had a criminal record.
“He never killed anybody, but he was one of the people I include in my book who actually did have a criminal history,” he said. “Not all of the people in my book do, but I wanted to include people who did to show as well just to show that this happens to people of all walks of life, wrongful convictions.”
I talked with Fenton not only about that case specifically, but about the larger implications of a society that casts its nets very widely.
Listen to the complete conversation:
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