Commentary on events in the U.S. system of justice from a social science perspective.
This story is scary. The power of the State to put someone to death on the testimony of ignorant and sometimes even biased people needs to be reexamined. Seeing as the death-penalty is obviously a permanent action, the evidence needs to be conclusive. The problem is we are dealing with in-perfect sciences and human beings who have hidden motives on all sides. The ability to know the truth is in many ways a myth. I am optimistic that the improvements in technology can reduce this, but seeing that people will be the ones using the science, it will never be completely accurate. I see this as good reason to not use the death penalty. It is unnecessary and the risks are too high. With that being said, "life in prison" needs to mean what it says. I think it should be changed to death in prison unless proven that the person was in-fact innocent. I think people would be more willing to let the death penalty go, if they were assured that the person guilty of a horrific crime like murder or child rape was going to die in a cell no matter what. Not getting out when they are 65 or after 25 years.
I typed a long comment on this, it said it saved it, and now it is gone?????? My basic point was that if the public was assured that criminals sentenced to life in prison were going to die in their cell unless they are exonerated, then I think the death penalty could go away. It is the stories about people getting paroled or let out when they are old that makes people want them put to death. This would make it so the errors that have been occurring would not have to result in the death of innocent people. Loosing years of their life is bad enough, but dying is obviously permanent.
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