Wednesday, November 23, 2005

How many more oopsies.

In the last year there has been three substantial claims of the execution of innocents. Last December the Chicago Tribune examined the execution Cameron Todd Willingham and strongly suggested that he may not have been factually guilty of the crime for which he was executed. The AP ran this story on Larry Griffin (Missouri) noting "strong evidence" that he may have been innocent despite his being executed in 1995. The Cantu case in recent days has also been making the rounds here and elsewhere as to the real possibility Texas killed the wrong man. As I noted here back in 2001, 25 plausible cases of factually innocent having been executed could one day be added what appears to be a list that is growing scarily fast, innocent but dead.

What effect, if any, the rapidly growing list will have on the Streamlined Procedures Act, the new death penalty provisions of the PATRIOT Act, or the crucial state legislative debates in Kansas, New York and New Jersey on the death penalty remain to be seen.

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