Scotland: Kenny Richey case – appeal victory welcomed and speedy release urged for death row Scot
Amnesty International Scotland has welcomed the decision of a court in the USA to overturn the conviction of Kenny Richey, a Scottish man on death row in Ohio. The organisation is now calling for Mr Richey to be released as soon as possible.
Earlier today the 6th Circuit Federal Court of Appeal in Cincinnati ruled that Mr Richey’s death sentence has been overturned. The state of Ohio may now release Mr Richey or re-try his case within 90 days.
The appeal was one of the last available appeals open to Richey, who later this week would have spent exactly 18 years on death row. Mr Richey was convicted of arson and murder in the state of Ohio in 1986 and sentenced to death on 27 January 1987. He has been on death row since then, but has always protested his innocence.
Evidence has since emerged casting serious doubt on Mr Richey’s guilt.
Amnesty International Scotland Programme Director Rosemary Burnett said:
“This appeal victory is hugely welcome to all of those who have believed that for 18 years Kenny Richey has been denied justice in Ohio.
“Nobody should be sent to the living hell of death row but Kenny Richey’s 18-year ordeal has come after a flawed trial and serious concerns about the Ohio justice system.
“Indeed, Kenny’s case was always one of the most compelling cases of apparent innocence that human rights campaigners had ever come across.
“It is astonishing that it has taken this long for Ohio to look again at Kenny’s case.
“Winning the appeal is a vital step - now we want to see a speedy process that will release Kenny as soon as possible.”
For several years Amnesty International has been urging the Ohio state authorities to allow Kenny Richey the opportunity to have fresh evidence heard. It has also been pressing the UK government to keep up pressure on the US authorities in line with the government’s policy of opposing the death penalty in all instances. Last year the government confirmed that it has a “comprehensive lobbying strategy” over Richey’s case.
The case has attracted appeals on Mr Richey’s behalf from Pope John Paul II and the former Archbishop of Canterbury. In a resolution passed in June 1992, the European Parliament expressed its doubt concerning the validity of the sentence.