Monday, January 16, 2006

Sometimes You Just Can't Get A Break

Anti-death penalty activists suffered another devastating political blow today when they learned that another man put to death was actually guilty of the crimes for which he had been sentenced.

RICHMOND, Va. — Death penalty opponents said new DNA tests confirming the guilt of a murderer who was put to death in Virginia while still proclaiming his innocence will do nothing to end their fight to abolish capital punishment.

Their disappintment was unmistakable, but their enthusiasm that one day they will find an innocent man (or woman or womyn) that had been put to death for a crime he (or she or something in between) did not commit cannot be shaken.

Death penalty opponents have argued for years that the risk of a grave and irreversible mistake by the criminal justice system is too great to allow capital punishment. A finding of innocence in the Coleman case would have been explosive news and almost certainly would have had a powerful effect on the public's attitude toward the death penalty. But despite the finding of guilt, death penalty opponents insist the results do not mean capital punishment is infallible.

"Obviously, one case does not in any way reflect on the correctness of the other 1,000 executions we've had in the last 30 years," said Peter Neufeld, co-founder of the Innocence Project. "Other governors should take their lead from Governor Warner and do post-execution testing in their cases, because ... there's no reason not to — it's all about getting to the truth."

Solidarity to my brothers soft on crime. I'm rooting with you for the death of an innocent man.


At 7:50 PM, Blogger spd rdr said...

KJ, this was a difficult situation here in Virginia. Everybody "knew" that "that bastard" brutally raped and murdered his wife's sister...nearly severing her head. But he was given an alibi by his high school friend. "That bastard" was supposedly 8 miles away when he ceased the life of a 19 year old girl, "shootin' the breeze."

It's good that the Governor ordered this review, not just to justify a jury's decision, or to placate a justifiably dubious public, but to lend peace and closure to those who lost a soul that never even had a chance to speak as an adult.

"That bastard" died with a lie on his lips. And for that there is a special Hell.

At 12:02 PM, Blogger KJ said...

I think it is great that the question has been answered. Still, I find the perverse incentives of the political activists interesting. I think many of them wanted the guy to be innocent so their cause could be served. That is just wrong.

At 2:31 PM, Blogger tee bee said...

It would be hard to mistake that intent, given that the decision followed so closely on Tookie's execution; Wisconsin just collected a man who is accused of murdering and burning a woman's body after having a rape conviction overturned on DNA evidence (her car keys and blood were found in his bedroom on the site where the body was found). What should we make of that original DNA conclusion?

It's also why Project Innocence had a ready response to the findings, and is the subject of the article you cite.

Justice has been served doubly for a change.


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