One wonders what death penalty proponents are afraid of. If they are so certain that we are getting it right 100 percent of the time in terms of the guilt of people we're executing, then what's the harm in testing to make sure? Oh, wait: Maybe they realize, deep down, that the death penalty is a government program -- and government programs aren't perfect.
Here's a story from the Roanoke Times on the continuing saga of Roger Coleman:
Coleman case still unsettled in many minds----Gov. Warner still has not decided whether to order a DNA test that might prove Coleman's innocence.
Jack Payden-Travers didn't have to say what he was calling about. All he had to say was, "This is Jack."
"I can tell you what Jack's question is going to be," Gov. Mark Warner said last Tuesday during a call-in show on WVTF public radio.
Sure enough, the head of Virginians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty was calling - again - to ask the governor to order DNA testing that could determine whether the state executed an innocent man.
For the past 2 years, Warner has been considering the request from Centurion Ministries, a group that believes Roger Keith Coleman was executed in 1992 for a rape and murder he did not commit.
Warner promised last week that he will make a decision "very soon."
Although DNA has been used to exonerate 13 people on death row since 1993 nationwide, there has never been a case in which posthumous testing proved the innocence of an executed man, according to the Death Penalty Information Center in Washington D.C.
With public support for capital punishment weakening, scientific proof that the system is not fail-safe "would be more than just a blip" in the process, said Richard Dieter, executive director of the group.
"Those who don't want to see an innocent person executed would realize this is a distinct possibility," Dieter said. "It's not just a theoretical problem."
To read the whole story go here.