Tuesday, December 22, 2009

"What this debate should no longer tolerate is the fantasy that the death pe...


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via guerrilla mama on 12/22/09

"What this debate should no longer tolerate is the fantasy that the death penalty can be implemented 'fairly.' Human systems mean human failure. The number of people who have been falsely sentenced to death and later exonerated is staggering. The imbalance in the likelihood between black and white offenders getting the death penalty for the same charges is staggering. It's only because of the historical accident of modern DNA testing happening during our lifetimes that we even know that so many people have been falsely sentenced to death by prosecutors, jurists and judges who knew the accused was guilty. How many people, do you think, were put to death on faulty evidence before the advent of DNA testing? And guess what—we have all the modern technology imaginable, and we still sent an innocent man to his death.

No, there are not infallible human systems, which means that a human system for sending people to death is going to screw up, and everyone who supports the death penalty is endorsing that system regardless. If you want to send people to death, you have to man up and say, 'I can deal with the Cameron Todd Willinghams. It's worth it, he and those to come being put to death, to satisfy my revenge. I can imagine his last night on earth spent contemplating his imminent wrongful execution and I am willing to allow for that happening if it means we get to put people to death.' You've got to own that. You've got to endorse the death penalty in the knowledge that it has and will put innocent people to death."

- Freddie DeBoer, on supporters of the death penalty. (via savingpaper)


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