About Ken Wyniemko
In 1994, Kenny was wrongfully convicted of a savage rape and sentenced to 40 years in prison. With the help of the Michigan Innocence Project, Kenny was exonerated after nearly nine years in prison.
Today, Kenny has dedicated his life to assist the wrongfully convicted and he has become one of the most visible and respected advocates. He has appeared in many venues across the country in support of newly released exonerees and fighting for the rights of the wrongfully convicted.
Kenny has lived his entire life in the Detroit metropolitan area and has remained friends with Bob Henige for over 50 years. He currently resides in Rochester Hills, Michigan, a suburb north of Detroit.
Kenny and Bob have been very lucky in that they have been able to continue to have a close relationship with their high school classmates.
There were many people willing to come forward and share their admiration for Kenny and how he has carried himself since his exoneration.
Judge Carl Marlinga, Former Macomb County Prosecutor
He is a perfect cross between a bulldog and a saint. Ken is so well motivated. His ability to forgive is unsurpassed. But his ability to seek justice for other people is unparalleled. He will not give up. And I think, possibly, it’s the thing that makes the most sense. It’s like you’ve lost so much of your life, in order to make your life meaningful, you've got to take that experience and not just let it twist in your gut. You've got to make something positive about it. You've got to turn it around and free other people. That’s what he’s done. Psychologically, it's the healthiest thing he could do. But, even with all of that, his efforts still can’t be explained. It's super human strength. It really is.
Bill Proctor, Investigative Reporter
I can say this for the book, for my friend, for everybody who reads this to know: Kenny Wyniemko had every reason to be vengeful, hateful, disrespectful, and very upset about the people who were responsible for his wrongful conviction and the 10 years he lost and not being able to go to his father’s funeral. But this country, if not the world, should be very proud of the person Kenny Wyniemko decided to become. He is a person who has committed time, money, and dedication to do something for people like him, people who suffered their loss of their freedom for something they didn’t do. And it’s not a flash in a pan thing for Kenny Wyniemko. He’s dedicated to it. He has spent the last eight years trying to get the Wrongful Conviction Compensation Bill passed. And he has been at the release of other wrongfully convicted people ready to give them money, ready to give them support. He has been to national conventions to show a strong example of what a person who suffered like he did can become. Kenny has become that. People should know that and be proud of Kenny Wyniemko.
Judge Patrick T. Cahill
As a District Court Judge for almost 11 years, I watched as many litigants got swept up into the criminal justice system and ground down by it. They were frequently represented by overworked and underpaid public defenders who were usually more interested in a quick plea than a protracted trial. The presumption of innocence seemed to be turned upside down, especially if you were naive and too trusting. Ken Wyniemko experienced these systemic failures first hand and has now become a beacon, working tirelessly to shed light on inequities in the justice system. He is a role model, a proud exoneree, and an eloquent advocate for change.
Michigan State Senator Stephen Bieda
Kenny was extremely affective in the Michigan Senate and House and in the public and the media, all of these things. I don’t think this Legislation could have happened unless we had somebody like Kenny. Kenny was my inspiration for this bill and the perfect poster boy for the cause because he’s soft-spoken and he’s direct. There was no man more dedicated to having this bill passed.
Tom Howlett, Defense Attorney
So, even after what Ken went through, he has become an upstanding citizen, preaching the gospel with regard to exonerations so well now.
Norm Fell, Director of Cooley Law School Innocence Project
Ken was invaluable and he still is. What Ken did so well in the beginning, particularly at the speaking engagements, was to get the word out and to influence so many people. Each one of those students went home telling their families. I had several parents actually contact me after one of these lectures, asking me what the Innocence Project is about. They heard about it from their children. These are people of influence. Ken, by what he is doing, is putting himself out there, facilitating this spread of knowledge that legitimizes our work.
Scott Nobles, Deputy Warden—Ryan Correctional Facility
Kenny was imprisoned for 9 years, especially in a prison like Ryan, for something that he didn’t do. He maintained his faith the entire time he was incarcerated. To me, that says a lot about him and it just radiates. In my mind, Kenny is the poster boy for exonerees. He’s what people should strive for. He did not let bitterness overtake him. He maintains his faith and he’s moving forward with a purpose and a direction.
Kathy Swedlow, Attorney—Cooley Law School Innocence Project
He’s a wonderful ambassador. And, quite honestly, he or any other exoneree doesn’t have to be. I think about the folks who have been wrongfully convicted and what they have been through. I can’t even begin to imagine. They don’t have to become a spokesperson. Everyone would understand if they said I am done with this and they went off and tried to live a normal life. I admire Ken for choosing to speak on these issues in the years since he’s been exonerated.
Marty Hacias, Lifelong Friend of Kenny
I think it is wonderful that he didn’t take his good fortune and ride off into the sunset. I admire him and I am totally behind it. I am proud to call him friend.