Southern Religion

Global abolition of the death penalty?

Sara Furguson at The Cornell Daily Sun’s A Windown on Justice writes about last week’s European Union call for global abolition of the death penalty:

This year, five men were released from death row after newly considered evidence proved their innocence. For instance, Yancy Douglas and Paris Powell were exonerated after serving more than fourteen years on death row for murder charges. Surprisingly, their convictions were based on testimony from an illegitimate gang member. Not only was he a rival gang member of the two wrongfully convicted men, but he admitted to never witnessing the incident because he was drunk and high that night. Yet, he was promised less prison time for his testimony. These are only two examples of the 130 death row inmates released since 1973 because of wrongful conviction.

And then there’s Cameron Willingham, an innocent man executed on Feb. 17, 2004, by the State of Texas. The Equal Justice Initiative writes:

In 2005, Texas established a government commission to investigate mistakes and misconduct by forensic scientists. In August 2009, noted fire scientist Craig Beyler completed his investigation into the Willingham case. As The New Yorker reports, Beyler concluded that “investigators in the Willingham case had no scientific basis for claiming that the fire was arson, ignored evidence that contradicted their theory, had no comprehension of flashover and fire dynamics, relied on discredited folklore, and failed to eliminate potential accidental or alternative causes of the fire.” Their approach, he said, seemed to deny “rational reasoning” and was more “characteristic of mystics or psychics.”

How many innocent must die?


October 17, 2009 - Posted by | Law, Politics |

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