Friday, January 06, 2006

Time Out of Mind...

How many cases must come before the Courts before the system realizes that capital punishment, as administered in the United States, is a travesty of justice. The likelihood an innocent person will be executed could be as high as 1 out of 15.

Now inquiring minds might ask how I arrived at this figure.

It’s really quite simple. Just recently, Gov. Mark Warner of Virginia randomly tested DNA evidence from 31 cases. Out of the 31 samples, two came back as innocent. Quite an alarming statistic, I would contend.

We know that in 2000, DNA testing in Florida revealed a man who died while waiting to be executed turned out to be not guilty after all.

And today the Washington Post reports the Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments in the case of a Tennessee inmate who was found guilty through DNA evidence that with further analysis turned out to be from the victim’s spouse, not the convicted inmate.

The frequency in which capital convictions have been proven faulty raises the question of why we continue to act as if the system is perfectly legitimate when in fact the system is out of order. And although more than 120 souls were spared the ultimate punishment through DNA testing, yet another question begs an answer. What about the ones who lack DNA evidence?

Yesterday, the Washington Post reported that Gov. Mark Warner of Virginia finally ordered DNA testing from Roger Keith Coleman.

Coleman was tried, convicted and executed for raping and killing his sister-in-law. He insisted he was innocent with his last dying breath. And now DNA evidence could definitively prove that the unthinkable happened. An innocent man was executed.

No Mas! Stop the madness. A national moratorium on the death penalty must be enacted. Immediately!

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