Ponder This (Part 1)
Updated: May 7
This post is part of an ongoing series:
Part 2: Harmless Error
Part 3: Reasons Why
These are the women and men who currently reside on death row in the U.S: https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/executions/upcoming-executions
Statistically one in ten is innocent. Look at these names and imagine that one of them is someone you care for or love. A friend, a family member, or even yourself.
Each has a story, a chain of events that led to a life in captivity with the promise of being murdered by the State.
Look at these names. How many were wrongfully convicted? How many are actually innocent?
Were you taught to judge who deserves to live and who dies? Should you even attempt to do so when you know that all the information you are given can’t possibly be true?
If one in every ten cars, trains and planes crashed, someone would surely stop the operation of those until what was wrong could be fixed.
Read the list provided. My name is on it, along with nine other Allens, so when every tenth death row prisoner is innocent...
Put your child’s name on that list. Your parent’s. Yours friend’s.
Abolishing the Death Penalty doesn’t solve anything. Those wrongfully convicted, along with others wrongfully convicted and actually innocent, will still be imprisoned, often for much longer and in worse conditions which include being around prisoners who are often worse than some with a death sentence.
Look at the numbers. In 2016 there were 35,697 people in prison in North Carolina alone. Now I think there are 142 on death row. If, as is said, that it is much more difficult to get a verdict of death, and statistically one in every ten is actually innocent, what then is the percentage of innocents in the entire prison population...
Now factor in that as of the 2016 census there were 1,506,757 human beings in prison, with a total number of 2,168,600 incarcerated in some capacity...
Out of the 142 Death Row prisoners in N.C. alone, 131 were convicted before 2008, when reforms were passed to prevent mistaken eyewitness identifications and false confessions, which are two of the leading causes of wrongfully convictions.
104 were convicted before the execution of those with intellectual disabilities was legally barred, and I assure you there are still many of those here. 119 were sentenced before defendants had the right to see all the "evidence" in a prosecutors file - which often includes information that could help prove their innocence.
When executions in North Carolina were put on hold in 2006 it had been 27 years since the death penalty was reinstated in 1977. From 1977 until the present (2019) there have been 40 executions, 5 suicides and 38 "natural" causes of death. From 1977 until the present 267 have been removed from death row, which means 186 that didn’t die were removed because there was enough found wrong with their trials. Of those 186 45 received new trials, with 6 of those freed, 5 being exonerated – 6 more were eventually paroled, and 5 removed (commuted) by a sitting Governor.
In 2006 when executions were temporarily halted, purportedly because of a botched lethal injections, it’s worth noting that the previously mentioned reforms were in the works, because of a series of events that were in the process of coming to light.
In the next few years after 2006, 3 death row prisoners were freed, then 2 more in 2014. These were the last set free, but more have been given re-sentencing to life, which in itself acknowledges errors made during their trials.
What is known, but not said openly about the true reasoning behind the executions being put on hold, is that so many were being removed, because of prosecutorial misconduct, ineffective counsel, judicial misconduct, "new" evidence of innocence being "found", and the understated and underexposed fiasco that was the SBI Crime Lab Scandal.
When there are no executions these so called abolitionists move on, not caring that there are still innocent and wrongfully convicted people not having their appeals heard. This leaves 142 N.C. Death Row prisoners in limbo.