Friday, June 16, 2006

Innocent? Guilty? Does it matter?

David R. Dow, a law professor at the University of Houston, and the author of "Executed on a Technicality: Lethal Injustice on America's Death Row," writes here that death penalty opponents are too focused on the nightmare of executing an innocent man as a tactic to erode support for capital punishment in America.
Innocence is a distraction. . . . most people on death row did what the state said they did. But that does not mean they should be executed.
. . .
In 98 percent of the cases, however, in 49 out of 50, there were appalling violations of legal principles: prosecutors struck jurors based on their race; the police hid or manufactured evidence; prosecutors reached secret deals with jailhouse snitches; lab analysts misrepresented forensic results. Most of the cases do not involve bogus claims of innocence . . . but the government corruption that the federal courts overlook so that the states can go about their business of executing.

Church statements on the death penalty can be found here.