Answer by Kris Rosvold:
In THEORY, I have no problem at all with capital punishment, so long as we have a way to insure that no innocent person is EVER killed for something they did not do. We Don't.
That, my friend, is the entirety of the problem… off the top of my head, I know of at least TWO dozen who were on death row for crimes THEY DID NOT COMMIT!
How could you live with yourself knowing you had sent an innocent to death??!
As Mr. Jefferson (I think) once said "I would rather that ten guilty men go free, than that an innocent man spend one day in jail!"
4/15/14 Edit after a discussion with a fellow Quoran:
The key difference is that, if you are dead and then found innocent (which has happens repeatedly in nations which use the death penalty) there is no way to rescind that sentence or make any attempt at correcting it. Also, at least in the US, a factually innocent person being incarcerated is not at all uncommon! DAs, cops, even the FBI Crime Labs, OFTEN trump up (falsify) evidence on the theory that "If they got caught doing this other, unrelated crime, they must be guilty of the charged crime on some level."
Worse yet, EVERY SINGLE DA, without exception, has actively, aggressively, and vigorously fought, EVERY SINGLE exoneration even when presented with proof positive that the person convicted was the WRONG PERSON. This??! From people who are supposedly SWORN to insure Justice and who are required, by law, in most States, to present exonerating evidence to the Court?
Folks, The simple fact is: Our "Justice" System has absolutely nothing to do with justice and everything to do with how much money you can pay an attorney for your defense.
Backup Data (highlighted in bold as needed):
See the Following from
"There have beenin the United States.
• The first DNA exoneration took place in 1989. Exonerations have been won in; since 2000, there have been 249 exonerations.
• 18 of the 314 people exonerated through DNA . Another 16 were charged with capital crimes but not sentenced to death.
• The average length of time served by exonerees is 13.5 years. The total number of years served is approximately 4,232.
• The average age of exonerees at the time of their wrongful convictions was 27.
Races of the 316 exonerees:
198 African Americans
2 Asian American
• The true suspects and/or perpetrators have been identified in.
• Since 1989, there have been tens of thousands of cases where prime suspects were identified and pursued—until DNA testing (prior to conviction) proved that they were wrongly accused.
• In more than 25 percent of cases in a National Institute of Justice study, suspects were excluded once DNA testing was conducted during the criminal investigation (the study, conducted in 1995, included 10,060 cases where testing was performed by FBI labs).
• 65 percent of the people exonerated through DNA testing have been financially compensated. 29 states, the federal government, and the District of Columbia have passed laws to compensate people who were wrongfully incarcerated. Awards under these statutes vary from state to state.
• An Innocence Project review of our closed cases from 2004 – 2010 revealed that 22 percent of cases were closed because of lost or destroyed evidence.
• The Innocence Project was involved in 172 of the 316 DNA exonerations. Others were helped by Innocence Network organizations, private attorneys and by pro se defendants in a few instances.
• 30 of the DNA exonerees to crimes they did not commit.
Leading Causes of Wrongful Convictions
These DNA exoneration cases have provided irrefutable proof that wrongful convictions are not isolated or rare events, but arise from systemic defects that can be precisely identified and addressed. For more than 15 years, the Innocence Project has worked to pinpoint these trends. Many wrongful convictions overturned with DNA testing involve multiple causes.
Eyewitness Misidentification Testimony was a factor in 73 percent percent of post-conviction DNA exoneration cases in the U.S., making it the leading cause of these wrongful convictions. At least 40 percent of these eyewitness identifications involved a cross racial identification (race data is currently only available on the victim, not for non-victim eyewitnesses). Studies have shown that people are less able to recognize faces of a different race than their own. These suggested reforms are embraced by leading criminal justice organizations and have been adopted in the states of New Jersey and North Carolina, large cities like Minneapolis and Seattle, and many smaller jurisdictions..
Unvalidated or Improper Forensic Science played a role in approximately 50 percent of wrongful convictions later overturned by DNA testing. While DNA testing was developed through extensive scientific research at top academic centers, many other forensic techniques – such as hair microscopy, bite mark comparisons, firearm tool mark analysis and shoe print comparisons – have never been subjected to rigorous scientific evaluation. Meanwhile, forensics techniques that have been properly validated – such as serology, commonly known as blood typing – are sometimes improperly conducted or inaccurately conveyed in trial testimony. In other wrongful conviction cases, forensic scientists have engaged in misconduct..
False confessions and incriminating statements lead to wrongful convictions in approximately 25 percent of cases. Looking only at the homicide cases, false confessions are the leading contributor to wrongful convictions, contributing to 64 (62%) of the 104 homicide wrongful convictions that were overturned by DNA evidence, where as misidentifications contributed to only 32 (31%) of the homicide wrongful convictions. Twenty-nine of the DNA exonerees to crimes they did not commit. The Innocence Project encourages police departments to electronically record all custodial interrogations in their entirety in order to prevent coercion and to provide an accurate record of the proceedings.
Informants contributed to wrongful convictions in 18 percent of cases. Whenever informant testimony is used, the Innocence Project recommends that the judge instruct the jury that most informant testimony is unreliable as it may be offered in return for deals, special treatment, or the dropping of charges. Prosecutors should also reveal any incentive the informant might receive, and all communication between prosecutors and informants should be recorded.."