Despite a proposal from the attorney general to shorten the time involved in appeals of death sentences in Alabama, writer Joel Sanders urged the Legislature to get rid of the death penalty altogether, citing Innocence Project data that 18 people have been proven innocent and exonerated by DNA testing in the United States after serving time on death row.
Profoundly sad is the fact that innocent people have almost certainly been executed.
While it may be true that most law enforcement personnel and criminal prosecutors have high integrity, sloppy work or actual misconduct is at the root of many wrongful convictions. Ponder the fact that of the exonerated individuals noted above, 29 had confessed to crimes they did not commit. Furthermore, it turns out that eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable. Add to this mixture the fact that many indigent defendants have been represented at trial by grossly incompetent counsel.
The Legislature should abolish the death penalty in order to end the possibility of wrongful executions, reduce the necessity for victims' families to attend hearings and stop the spending of meager state revenue on a prolonged death penalty process. Life without parole is the logical alternative to the death penalty for capital crimes.
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