Death Penalty debate flares after firing squad execution

firing squad execution
Utah: The state has banned the method, saying it overshadows the crime and victim Nicholas Riccardi: McClatchy Tribune Commentary submitted by Jim Pavis, OADP member The following was excerpted from the Oregonian article (June 19, 2010 – A4):

Retiring Justice John Paul Stevens Pleas for Abolition of the Death Penalty

Retiring Justice John Paul Stevens Pleas for Abolition of the Death Penalty

Commentary by Ron Steiner OADP Outreach Chair -- Speaking at a large convention of judges and lawyers, in Columbus, Ohio, last night retiring Supreme Count Justice John Paul Stevens made a direct and emotional plea to abolish the death penalty. Among his comments before the assembled legal veterans, Stevens said, “The risk of an incorrect decision has increased”. Responding to a question about his 2008 assertion that the death penalty should be abolished, he said that “because of advances in DNA testing”, which have led to the freeing of some innocent convicts, “we’re more aware of the risk than we might have been before.”

Innocents Convicted of Murder in Oregon

Innocents Convicted of Murder in Oregon

Oregon has come perilously close to sentencing people to death for crimes they did not commit. Five people have been convicted of murder, or aggravated murder, and given sentences ranging from twenty years in prison to life without the possibility of parole. Death penalty supporters insist that the system in Oregon has made no mistakes because no death sentenced person has been exonerated. It is only through pure luck that this has not happened. Oregon does not need the death penalty – it is too risky and cannot be undone.

Seattle PI: Cost of Death Penalty are Punishing the Innocent

Commentary by By Brendan Williams -- Costs of Death Penalty are Punishing the Innocent. We simply cannot keep punishing the innocent, including actual crime victims, by keeping a death penalty we cannot afford.

New York Times: Innocent but Dead

There is a long and remarkable article in the current New Yorker about a man who was executed in Texas in 2004 for deliberately setting a fire that killed his three small children. Rigorous scientific analysis has since shown that there was no evidence that the fire in a one-story, wood frame house in Corsicana was the result of arson, as the authorities had alleged. In other words, it was an accident. No crime had occurred. Cameron Todd Willingham, who refused to accept a guilty plea that would have spared his life, and who insisted until his last painful breath that he was innocent, had in fact been telling the truth all along.

Judges’ Dissents for Death Row Inmates Are Rising

By JOHN SCHWARTZ -- It took just 80 words for a federal appeals court to deny Kevin Cooper’s most recent plea to avoid execution. But attached to that order was a forceful 101-page dissent by a judge, all but pleading to spare Mr. Cooper’s life. “The State of California may be about to execute an innocent man,” it began. The judge who wrote the dissent, William A. Fletcher of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, argued that the police and prosecutors had withheld and tampered with evidence in the case for decades; Judge Fletcher even accused the district court of having sabotaged the case.

Oregonian: Texas judge ended day as death row appeal waited

As lawyers frantically tried to file the last-minute appeal that could have halted the execution of a death row inmate, the Texas judge who oversaw the only court who could hear it was preparing to shut the doors for the day. "We close at 5," Judge Sharon Keller told a court staffer Sept. 25, 2007. The appeal was never heard, and four hours later, convicted killer Michael Wayne Richard was executed. Now it's Keller who will be before a judge, facing charges that could end her career in a special trial that begins Monday in San Antonio.

Press Release: Oregon Peace Works Supports Abolition

Oregon Peace Works Steps Up in Support of Abolition - Joining several secular and religious organizations, Oregon Peace Works has reaffirmed a position against Oregon’s death penalty.

Press Release: More Mistakes Found In Death Row Convictions

Within the past two weeks two more men have left a death row prison, found innocent after serving years for crimes that did not commit. These two exonerations mark #134 and #135 since 1973, and five already in the first seven months of 2009. “The five exonerations this year demonstrate that innocent people still face a significant danger of execution in this country”, said Richard Dieter, Executive Director of the Death Penalty Information Center.

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