Letters to the Editor

Thursday, Oct 11 2012 11:00 PM

Death precludes appeals when the state executes

By The Bakersfield Californian

"Perhaps the bleakest fact of all is that the death penalty is imposed not only in a freakish and discriminatory manner, but also in some cases upon defendants who are actually innocent." -- Justice William J. Brennan Jr., 1994

District Attorney Lisa Green's opinion article ("No on Prop. 34: Death penalty is the cost of justice," Oct. 8) had me wondering something similar to the description in her first paragraph. Specifically, about the sense of abject helplessness and betrayal by the system the family would feel at the execution of their loved one, who was innocent.

Green is correct in saying that no innocent individuals have been executed in California -- that we know of. Since 2001, the California Innocence Project has established the innocence of nine men wrongly convicted. Several were on death row. Across the country, more than 700 have been exonerated through DNA and other means. How many wrongfully convicted have been executed? There have been a number of cases over the years of innocent individuals being executed and subsequently being proved innocent through DNA, confessions by others, etc.

There are at least 10 confirmed cases of mistaken executions dating back to the late 1970s in Texas. Others in Florida, Missouri, Kentucky and many other states have been discovered.

We'll never know how many innocents have been executed. Death precludes appeals. We can stop it from happening again by ending it now. Life without parole is the logical alternative to execution. Innocence is reason enough.

Kenneth Hill

Bakersfield

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