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Capital Punishment And The Innocent Essay

1238 words - 5 pages

Capital Punishment And The Innocent A man saddened by the reality of his life takes his first step in years on to free land. As he is walking in freedom, a single tear slowly rolls down his face. His eyes seem to give off a blank stare while he begins his journey back to where he was almost a decade ago. So much has changed. Being locked up helped him realize the meaning of life and how wonderful of a gift that it is. Ironically, being locked up also took a big part of his life away. While inside he wondered how he once lived among people so cruel as to want to take his life. Now, it is time to forget that. He has been tortured for years with the thought of death, but years later proven innocent. Verneal Jimerson, Joseph Burrows, and Rolando Cruz along with many others have been proven innocent after being sentenced to death. With an average of 4.8 releases of innocent victims on death row per year something obviously has to be done. No person should be sentenced to death for a crime. Though it does not seem fair, there are still many innocent put on death row for a number of reasons (www.essential.org)."A total of 69 people have been released from death row since 1973 after evidence of their innocence emerged. Twenty-one condemned inmates have been released [between] 1993 and [1997]." claims Richard C. Dieter, the Executive Director of the Death Penalty Information Center in Washington D.C. at www.essential.org, "There is considerable evidence that the crisis of wrongful death penalty convictions has worsened: the annual average of people released from death row because of their innocence has increased since the first report was prepared." Why the increase in capital punishment sentences for innocent victims? There are five major reasons. Pressure from the public, unrelated murders, publicity, qualified juries, and time limits on evidence all increase the chance of a wrongful conviction.First, there is a lot of pressure from the American public to solve serious crimes such as murder. No one likes the idea of a "crazy killer" on the loose in his or her neighborhood. To make a community feel safe the police and prosecutors may convict the wrong suspects. It does not make much sense, but a quick capture of a criminal, even if it is the wrong one, seems to make everyone sleep a little easier (www.essential.org). Secondly, when a stranger murders someone there is usually no one around to witness the act. "Thus, in prosecuting the case the state relies more heavily on less reliable sources for evidence such as accomplices, jail-house snitches, and pressured confessions from the defendant." states www.essential.org, "The real killer has a strong motivation in a capital case to divert attention from himself and to put the onus, in whole or in part, on another individual who may be completely innocent." Another factor leading to a wrongful conviction is the publicity of the crime. The media many times influences jurors....

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