The Truth About Wrongful Convictions and Capital Punishment

The Truth About Wrongful Convictions and Capital Punishment

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The Truth About Wrongful Convictions and Capital Punishment

Human beings are not perfect and, therefore, they are capable of making errors. When an individual is being accused of committing a heinous crime such as aggravated murder, both the authorities and the public want to see justice served and the perpetrator punished. However, individuals who are anti-death penalty argue that even with advances in technology, it is easy for a defendant to be wrongly accused of a crime that he or she did not commit. Unless the crime was recorded on a video camera there is no way to know for certain what really occurred.

The court usually places a great deal of weight on the testimony of witnesses, and individuals who are against the death penalty argue that these testimonies are not always accurate or reliable. Anti-death penalty advocates reason that witnesses who are at the scene of a crime are usually terrified at the time that the crime is taking place and they are often not paying attention to the appearance and the features of the perpetrator. 

Therefore, they cannot accurately identify the offender. People who are against the death penalty suggest that a jury can be swayed by the statements of a witness and it is possible for a witness to falsify their testimony. Such was the case in Florida with convict Jesse Tafero.

Jesse Tafero, Sonia Jacobs, and Walter Rhodes were all being accused of killing two police officers. Rhodes was offered a less severe sentence if he testified against Tafero and Jacobs. Rhodes claimed that the pair played a significant role in the murder of the policemen and they were both sentenced to be executed. A year later, Rhodes retracted his testimony and declared that he was solely responsible for the crime. 

Despite this confession, Tafero was still executed. Individuals who fight against the death penalty frequently cite the Tafero case as one of the instances in which an innocent person has been executed for a crime for which he or she was not responsible.

Since the death penalty was reestablished, over 130 individuals who were convicted of murder have been exonerated from death row as a result of new evidence suggesting their innocence. Anti-death penalty activists cite this as one of the primary reasons that the death penalty should be abolished. Just because 130 innocent individuals have been spared capital punishment, this does not mean that there are not still innocent individuals on death row awaiting execution.

Records indicate that numerous convicts maintained that they were innocent of the crimes that they had been convicted of up until the day they were executed. Chances are that some of these convicts were indeed innocent and they were executed for someone else's crimes. Individuals who are against the death penalty argue that as long as the death penalty remains intact, there is a chance that innocent men and women will be executed for a crime that they did not commit.

Anti-death penalty advocates illustrate that as a result of technological advances and the advent of DNA evidence, many convicts have been released from prison because evidence indicated that they were innocent or that someone else was guilty of the crime of which they were convicted. 

Individuals who argue against the death penalty suggest that if this is true of convicts who are serving time in prison, it is likely also true of convicts who are awaiting execution on death row. It is fairly nonsensical to risk killing an innocent individual when incarceration can punish criminals and diminish the threat that they pose to society by keeping them behind bars. If you need legal advice and assistance, contact wrongful death lawyers.

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