The death penalty
Executing innocent people
"We have enormous protections, the best by far, but we're never going
to have a system that will never execute an innocent person." Statement
by the Chairperson of the Judiciary Committee of the US House of Representatives
in support of the death penalty in 1997.
What is at stake:
Both pro-death penalty and anti-death penalty advocates share one belief:
Proving that the state executed an innocent person would significantly reduce
public acceptance of the death penalty.
How many of the approximately 7,000 people executed in the U.S. during the
20th century were innocent? Nobody knows.
A "smoking gun" -- a case of an
innocent person having been executed -- has not yet been proven to everyone's
satisfaction. The best chance
of finding a "smoking gun" might be to compare crime scene evidence to the DNA
of a person who has already been executed. Unfortunately, such samples are not easily
The closest to a "smoking gun" seems to be Claude Jones who was executed on 2000-DEC-07 for the murder of a liquor store owner in Texas. His conviction was based on a single hair that prosecutors claimed belonged to the accused. After his death, DNA analysis showed that the hair belonged to the victim.
Copyright © 2005 to 2010 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Originally posted: 2005-AUG-07
Latest update: 2010-NOV-13
Author: B.A. Robinson