Another day, another miscarriage of justice. I find it sad that, given the amount of new evidence, something wasn't done in this case to stop a (potentially) innocent man from being executed. I'm not suggesting I believe his innocence; I haven't read the court documents (including his appeals) for this case. However, from all of the articles I have read, there was enough information presented to halt the execution.
I was so sorry to see that they went forward with this. I'm absolutely opposed to capital punishment to begin with, but particularly in a situation where there is as much question as there was in this situation, I simply can't fathom it.
I am also against the death penalty. I would rather hundreds, or thousands of people go free than one innocent person be wrongly executed (not that I think there is a "right" execution)
The underlying tragedy is that there weren't more people coming forward demanding a retrial. Americans should be uniting on this regardless of their views on the death penalty; everybody should be gravely concerned over even the potential of the state killing an innocent person. If there's one iota of doubt about a person's guilt, there absolutely needs to be further investigations and trials. Why was it only those of us who oppose the death penalty who were sending letters and signing petitions?
Unfortunately, most of the death penalty supporters that I know personally and read on blog comments are dismissing the matter because "everybody on death row claims they're innocent." So we should go ahead and execute him just in case he's lying and really guilty.........instead of having a retrial just in case he really is innocent. I just don't get that mentality. I believe it's called "guilty until proven innocent."
IME working with men on death row they don't actually all claim to be innocent by a long shot. I don't know if it's only in the cases where there's overwhelming evidence that they don't bother or what, but in the time I was doing that work, only one client ever claimed to be innocent and I know for a fact that he was innocent because it was another client of mine who killed the victim in his case.
I think the death penalty supporters are okay with killing a few innocent guys here and there. I don't think they ever argue that the system is perfect. Everyone knows damn well that there are plenty of mistakes made and even since people started being exonerated with DNA evidence there have been terrible legal reforms that have made it much harder for death row inmates to have the facts of their cases reconsidered after their conviction is final. Our system is more concerned with the finality of the verdict than it is with getting it right.
It's only very marginalized people that end up on death row (or, for the most part, prison at all) wrongly anyway. My client who was innocent was shockingly poor and very low IQ. I believe that most of the players responsible for his conviction (sheriff, prosecutor, judge, etc) knew it wasn't him but wanted the case closed before the upcoming elections. It was SO obvious that this other guy who was charged with murdering someone else four months later was the one. Like, painfully obvious.
Jayne, sewing up a storm mama to ds1 9/03, ds2 2/09, and 2 sweet furbabies.