Nov 28, Jesus was too smart to ever run for public office Q: The death penalty, what would Jesus do? I believe there is a place for a death penalty. Some crimes are so heinous, that the only response that we, as a civilized nation, have for a most uncivil action is not only to try to deter that person from ever committing that crime again, but also as a warning to others that some crimes are beyond any capacity for us to fix.
Joseph Burrows ILreleased photo by Loren Santow Perhaps the bleakest fact of all is that the death penalty is imposed not only in a freakish and discriminatory manner, but also in some cases upon defendants who are actually innocent. A total of 69 people have been released from death row since after evidence of their innocence emerged.
Twenty-one condemned inmates have been released sinceincluding seven from the state of Illinois alone. Many of these cases were discovered not because of the normal appeals process, but rather as a result of new scientific techniques, investigations by journalists, and the dedicated work of expert attorneys, not available to the typical death row inmate.
The growing number of additional cases in the ensuing years has prompted us to issue another report. The federal funding for the death penalty resource centers, which helped discover and vindicate several of the innocent people cited in this report, has been completely withdrawn.
The current emphasis on faster executions, less resources for the defense, and an expansion in the number of death cases mean that the execution of innocent people is inevitable. The increasing number of innocent defendants being found on death row is a clear sign that our process for sentencing people to death is fraught with fundamental errors--errors which cannot be remedied once an execution occurs.
Perhaps the bleakest fact of all is that the death penalty is imposed not only in a freakish and discriminatory manner, but also in some cases upon defendants who are actually innocent.
Don Edwards, then Chair of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights, to prepare a report on the problem of innocent people on death row. At that time, crime bills were being introduced which involved an expansion of the federal death penalty and a curtailing of the capital appeal process.
There also had been a series of highly publicized releases of people from death row in which it had belatedly been discovered that the wrong person had been convicted and sentenced to death.
The Center prepared a report for the Subcommittee, basing its research on its own monitoring of this issue and on groundbreaking work done by other researchers, most notably Professors Michael Radelet and Hugo Bedau. It also explored why such critical mistakes had been made in the legal process, and whether it was likely that such errors would continue.
The report was released as a Staff Report of Rep. It continues to be widely cited. The Appendix to this Report contains the original list of 48 cases of people released from death row because of evidence of their innocence.
The Need for a New Report The problem of innocent people facing execution because of errors in the criminal justice process has in no way diminished since For example, in the summer ofthe state of Illinois dropped all charges against four men who had been convicted of a murder.
Two of the men had been sentenced to death. The investigation which led to the discovery that the wrong men had been convicted was conducted by three journalism students who had been assigned the case in class.
These releases came on the heels of the release from death row of two other men in Illinois, Rolando Cruz and Alejandro Hernandez.
Three former prosecutors have been indicted for obstruction of justice in that case. Although the public may have learned something about these dramatic reversals, they probably have heard little about the continuous string of mistakes in capital cases which throws doubt on the reliability of the entire death penalty process.
There is considerable evidence that the crisis of wrongful death penalty convictions has worsened: Yet, recent research indicates that there may be a greater chance of mistaken convictions in death cases than in non-death cases.
Part II lists the new releases from death row and also discusses additional cases which may be added to the list when the cases are concluded. Assessing The Danger of Mistaken Executions was released in21 more cases have been added to the list of mistaken convictions in capital cases.
In the twenty-one-year span of the first report, there was an average of 2. The 17 releases over the past three and a half years represents a pace of 4.
For the original 48 cases, it took an average of approximately six and a half years between conviction and eventual release. With the 21 additional cases included in this report, the average time spent on death row before release is now about seven years.
This length of time is important because both state and federal legislation in recent years will shorten the length of time death row inmates have before their execution. Currently, the average time between sentencing and execution is eight years 5. If that time is cut in half, then the typical innocent defendant on death row will be executed before it is discovered that a fatal mistake has been made.
Reasons for Increased Risk of Error The most obvious reason for the increase in the number of innocent cases being discovered among those on death row is the overall expansion of the death penalty. The number of people on death row has been increasing 6and this expansion is likely to continue as states and the federal government broaden the death penalty to new crimes, and new states such as New York and Kansas begin sentencing people to death.
With the greater use of the death penalty, there is a greater likelihood of mistakes. Secondly, the death penalty has become even more political as legislators, prosecutors, and even judges promote the death penalty in their campaigns 7.
This results in the expansion of death penalty crimes and a shorter and narrower appeal process.
Prosecutors, with virtually unbridled discretion to seek the death penalty, may pursue a death sentence even when the evidence is weak, and they may be reluctant to change course when contradictory evidence later arises.
As a result of that work, the Association has identified numerous, critical flaws in current practices. Those flaws have not been redressed, indeed, they have become more severe in recent years, and the new federal habeas law and the defunding of the [resource centers] have compounded these problems.
This situation requires the specific conclusion of the ABA that executions cease, unless and until greater fairness and due process prevail in death penalty implementation.May 15, · Recent advances in technology have shown that techniques used by law enforcement to identify suspects even with eye witness accounts are flawed and if by eliminating the death penalty we save even one innocent life then it has more than made Status: Resolved.
a more fair and accurate criminal justice system, it is critical to improve the reliability, objectivity, and To date, DNA has exonerated more than two- not before his testimony was used in twenty or more death penalty convictions.
4. Convicting Lennie: Mental Retardation, Wrongful Convictions, and the Right to a Fair Trial John H. Blume Death Penalty Project. Sheri Lynn Johnson is Professor of Law, Cornell Law School, and Assistant Director, We felt we should go back and look at the DNA, where it is available, to make .
____ 1. The death penalty does not deter. Moratorium on executions. Some executed by death penalty were innocent. Death penalty does not deter and is discriminatory. ____ 2. Use DNA techniques to make death penalty more fair.
Supports death penalty; no moratorium for new DNA techniques. Death penalty for murdering federal officers. . Al Gore Al Gore on Crime: Sep 4, Use DNA techniques to make death penalty more fair I believe the death penalty is an appropriate and effective punishment for certain offenses.
I strongly support, however, the use of new DNA techniques that can make our criminal justice system fairer and more accurate. Use DNA techniques to make death penalty more fair. Supports death penalty; no moratorium for new DNA techniques. Death penalty for murdering federal officers.
_____ 3. Prompt death penalty would stop mass murderers. _____ 4. Uphold law on death penalty; and thing of the victims. Board of Pardons’ decision on Graham execution is just.