You are here: Who we are / Exonerated from Death Row / Juan Melendez
Thursday, May 28, 2020

Juan Melendez, Puerto Rico

Juan Roberto Melendez Colon became the 24th person exonerated and released from Florida's death row when he was freed on January 3, 2002 after spending almost 18 years facing execution for a crime he had nothing to do with. Melendez was convicted in 1984 at the age of 33 with no physical evidence linking him to the crime and testimony from questionable witnesses. In fact, prosecutors hid evidence and lied to the court in order to protect the real killer, a police informant. Melendez's conviction fell apart when the police informant's confession came to light in 1999 - a confession that prosecutors knew about before they took Melendez to trial. Of course, the state of Florida refuses to apologize or admit wrongdoing, and gave Melendez the same thing it gives every prisoner when they leave prison - $100. (Hardy Pickard, the lead prosecutor in Melendez' case, is still working as a State's Attorney in Polk County, Florida.)

Known to his friends as "Johnny," Melendez was born in Brooklyn but grew up in Puerto Rico, where he currently lives.

Juan has joined the Board of Directors for the Journey of Hope…from Violence to Healing and the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. He continually travel this country and internationally giving presentations about his experiences. He has formed the Juan Melendez Voices United for Justice Project.

To arrange for Juan to speak at your venue, please contact Ms Judi Caruso at 505-362-1784 or judi Ät send an emailhotsparePuenktchencom, director, Juan Melendez Voices United for Justice Project.


Board Member: Journey of Hope...from Violence to Healing - 2003 - Present
Board Member: National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty -2003- Present
99th Exonerated Death Row Inmate Nationwide
Juan Melendez Voices United for Justice Project
23rd Exonerated Death Row Inmate from Florida
International lecturer