Thursday, September 4, 2014

Reconsidering the Death Penalty

  • CS Monitor - Convictions for N.C. men overturned

    - Why There has been an uptick in exonerations.

    In the past 25 years, more than 1,300 convicts have been exonerated of the crimes for which they were wrongfully convicted. Last year alone, 87 individuals were found to have been wrongfully convicted, a peak since the database began in 1989.

    While the availability of new DNA analysis techniques has played a role in dozens of exonerations – as was the case with the two brothers – the uptick appears to be largely fueled by a shifting legal climate in the United States, in which law enforcement officials are investing more resources in reviewing old cases, Elizabeth Barber reported for the Monitor earlier this year. In many cases, she wrote, that means that prosecutors are turning the microscope on their predecessors:

    “During the past 25 years, almost 60 percent of the wrongful convictions for homicide in the US are associated with official misconduct, according to data from [a National Registry of Exonerations report]. Moreover, 17 percent of those exonerated originally pleaded guilty. In most cases, the defendant had accepted a plea bargain for a reduced sentence. In other incidents, the exonerated convict had been a victim of coercive interrogation techniques.”

  • NY Times - The Innocent on Death Row

    The exoneration of two North Carolina men who spent 30 years in prison— one on death row — provides a textbook example of so much that is broken in the American justice system. And it is further evidence (as though more were needed) that the death penalty is irretrievably flawed as well as immoral.