Protect Innocent Kansans from Lying Jailhouse Informants
The Midwest Innocence Project and the Innocence Project are calling on Kansas lawmakers to prevent wrongful convictions caused by unreliable jailhouse informants
On Nov. 5, 2020, Pete Coones was exonerated of murder in Kansas City, Kansas, after spending 12 years in prison. Tragically, just three and a half months after securing his freedom, Pete passed away on Feb. 21, 2021 due to health conditions that went undiagnosed and untreated while he was in prison. “Though Pete was no longer imprisoned, his death—like his unjust conviction—is the result of continued State neglect and mistreatment,” said the Midwest Innocence Project.
Pete was wrongfully convicted largely based on the use of an unreliable jailhouse informant, who not only testified at his trial, but offered to testify in multiple cases. The informant had a history of mental illness and dishonesty. Prosecutors were cautioned against using his testimony due to his lack of credibility, however, they did not disclose this information at trial. At one point, the informant tried to back out of testifying but was threatened with more jail time if he didn’t take the stand. The Midwest Innocence Project and law firm Morgan Pilate represented Pete, and you can learn more about his case here.
Kansas lawmakers should honor Pete’s legacy by passing legislation to protect other innocent Kansans from wrongful conviction. The bill would safeguard against the use of unreliable jailhouse informants. Pete was dedicated to advocating for Kansas to reform its use of jailhouse informants, and was eager to help make this legislation a reality.
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This campaign is in partnership with the Midwest Innocence Project.
Recent news coverage:
Pete Coones, exonerated in Kansas City, Kansas, murder, dies after 108 days of freedom The Kansas City Star, Feb. 21, 2021
Kansas man was framed in ‘Machiavellian’ murder-suicide scheme, lawyers argue The Kansas City Star, Feb. 9th, 2020