Religious Tolerance logo

The death penalty


Executing innocent people

horizontal rule

Sponsored link.

horizontal rule


bullet "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.

horizontal rule

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 obtained.

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.

horizontal rule

Topics covered in this section:

horizontal rule


Home > "Hot" religious topics and conflicts > Death Penalty > here

horizontal rule

Copyright 2005 to 2010 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally posted: 2005-AUG-07
Latest update: 2010-NOV-13
Author: B.A. Robinson

line.gif (538 bytes)
Sponsored link

horizontal rule

Go to the previous page, or to the "death penalty" menu, or choose:


Go to home page   We would really appreciate your help
E-mail us about errors, etc.
  Purchase a CD of this web site
FreeFind search, lists of new essays...
  Having problems printing our essays?

Twitter link

Facebook icon

GooglePage Translator:

This page translator works on Firefox,
Opera, Chrome, and Safari browsers only

After translating, click on the "show
original" button at the top of this
page to restore page to English.