The Tech Law Criminal Law Association, together with the Texas Tech University Cross Cultural Academic Advancement Center and other organizations, welcomed Juan Melendez to the law school on April 22. Melendez, the 99th death row prisoner to be exonerated and released since 1973, spent more than 17 years on death row.
One week later, Anthony Graves, who was wrongfully convicted of murder in 1992 and spent 12 years on death row and a total of 18 years in prison before being exonerated, shared his powerful story with the Texas Tech Law community. “Our justice system is biased not just by race, but also by wealth,” said Graves. “Jurors are uneducated about the process, detached from the standard of ‘innocent until proven guilty,’ and manipulated by a system that treats the rich and culpable better than the innocent and poor.” He encouraged the Texas Tech Law community to become involved with the Anthony Graves Foundation, a mentorship and development program created to help at-risk youth lead powerful, productive lives.