Monday, 16 April 2007

Dallas Morning News calls for death to die in Texas

Dallas Morning News calls for death to die in Texas

0415edideathmain Though I doubt this development will matter much politically, it still is noteworthy that today the Dallas Morning News has this editorial entitled "Death no more: It's time to end capital punishment." Emphasizing innocence concerns, here is a portion of the pitch:

And that uncomfortable truth [about an executed man's possible innocence] has led this editorial board to re-examine its century-old stance on the death penalty. This board has lost confidence that the state of Texas can guarantee that every inmate it executes is truly guilty of murder. We do not believe that any legal system devised by inherently flawed human beings can determine with moral certainty the guilt of every defendant convicted of murder.

That is why we believe the state of Texas should abandon the death penalty ― because we cannot reconcile the fact that it is both imperfect and irreversible.

Flaws in the capital criminal justice system have bothered troubled us for some time. We have editorialized in favor of clearer instructions to juries, better counsel for defendants, the overhaul of forensic labs and restrictions on the execution of certain classes of defendant. We have urged lawmakers to at least put in place a moratorium, as other states have, to closely examine the system. And yet, despite tightening judicial restrictions and growing concern, the exonerations keep coming, and the doubts keep piling up without any reaction from Austin.

From our vantage point in Dallas County, the possibility of tragic, fatal error in the death chamber appears undeniable. We have seen a parade of 13 men walk out of the prison system after years ― even decades ― of imprisonment for crimes they didn't commit. Though not death penalty cases, these examples ― including an exoneration just last week ― reveal how shaky investigative techniques and reliance on eyewitnesses can derail the lives of the innocent.

Accompanying this editorial are these additional items:

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