Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Clock ticking on Newton

Barring intervention by the U.S. Supreme Court, it appears that Frances Newton will be executed by the State of Texas shortly after 6 p.m. central standard time Wednesday.

There are serious and substantial questions surrounding the accuracy and fairness of Newton's conviction. (You can take action by going here.)

The thing about this case that strikes me: Death penalty proponents should be jumping up and down to stop this execution. If you believe in the death penalty, then surely your greatest fear is that the death penalty system will be undermined (and perhaps ultimately abolished) by the execution of a person who is quite possibly, if not probably, innocent.

After all, several countries (Canada and Great Britain) and several states (Michigan, Wisconsin and, I believe, Minnesota) abolished the death penalty after evidence emerged that they each had executed innocent people.

But proponents will be unmoved. Like ostriches with heads planted firmly in sand, they will continue to defend this system until it collapses under the weight of its many blunders, bureaucracies and biases.

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