Exoneree discussed book about wrongful conviction

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During a public reception and media briefing on October 9 at the WMU-Cooley Law School’s Auburn Hills campus, (left to right) author Bob Henige, Kenneth Wyniemko, and publisher Terry Ziemba introduced “Deliberate Injustice,” the book that tells the story of Wyniemko’s exoneration.

– Photo courtesy of WMU-Cooley

Western Michigan University Cooley Law School Innocence Project exoneree Kenneth Wyniemko and author Bob Henige held a public reception and media briefing at WMU-Cooley Law School’s Auburn Hills campus to introduce their book, “Deliberate Injustice – The Wrongful Conviction of Ken Wyniemko.” The book takes a personal look into Wyniemko’s struggle to prove his innocence, and his life after exoneration.

During the Oct. 9 event, Wyniemko recounted his experience. He was in prison for nine years wrongfully convicted of rape in 1994. On June 17, 2003, Kenneth Wyniemko walked out of prison a free man after Macomb County prosecutors dismissed all charges against him.

DNA testing obtained by the WMU-Cooley Innocence Project and pro bono attorney Gail Pamukov led to Wyniemko’s exoneration. The true perpetrator was identified through a DNA data bank hit five years after Wyniemko was exonerated.

Now an advocate for criminal justice reform, Wyniemko is determined to share his story and inform the public how often wrongful convictions happen. He spent three and a half years working on “Deliberate Injustice” with Henige.

“It’s been a long battle, a long piece of work for Bob and I, but it had to be done. The American people must know how often these wrongful convictions happen and it has to stop—that’s why I do what I do,” Wyniemko said.

Wyniemko also discussed the future of criminal justice reform, and the progress that has been made in exonerating wrongfully convicted individuals.

“Back then (2003) an innocent person was walking out of prison once every 16 days. Today, the average is one person is walking out of prison every other day. That’s four a week. That's a huge jump,” Wyniemko said. “If that doesn’t get your attention, you better check yourself for a pulse.”

Marla Mitchell-Cichon, director of the WMU-Cooley Innocence Project, spoke about opportunities for students to get involved in freeing others like Wyniemko by joining the WMU-Cooley’s innocence project.

“It is amazing to be here and to celebrate something positive that came out of such a very troubling and tragic event, and you as a student can be part of something like this while you’re in law school,” Mitchell-Cichon said.

More information about “Deliberate Injustice” is available at deliberateinjusticethebook.com.

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