Statement from Sen. John Rizzo on the Release of Lamar Johnson

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Jefferson City — State Sen. John Rizzo, D-Kansas City, has issued the following statement relating to the release of Lamar Johnson:


“After nearly three decades of wrongful imprisonment, today an innocent man will walk free.


“Lamar Johnson was the victim of a grave injustice perpetrated by a broken system. As a state, we had an obligation to fix the system that failed him, and to ensure it never fails another.


“That’s why I am proud to have worked with the Missouri Prosecutors Association in writing the law that has set Lamar Johnson and Kevin Strickland free. Now, for the first time ever, Missouri prosecutors have the ability and authority to fix what is broken. While the hardships forced upon Mr. Johnson and his family for 28 years can never be erased, with this new law, we can make sure they are never repeated.


“Going forward, we must find a fair and effective way to financially compensate those who have been harmed by a wrongful conviction. The state cannot simply turn a blind eye to the years of income and opportunity that have been stolen from those who have been wrongfully imprisoned. This is not over. We have work to do.”