"End appeals" (C-P, June 17).
The letter suggests DNA testing can cure the problem of wrongful convictions
for murder. Not so.
DNA evidence is available only in a very small percentage of murder cases.
Further, several states have been rocked by crime lab scandals as a result
of improper handling and interpretation of DNA evidence.
It is true that DNA has shined a light on the reasons why wrongful
convictions occur, but it cannot prevent them. The lessons of DNA about the
prevalence of problems such as false convictions had led to some important
reforms in the criminal justice system and hopefully more will be enacted as
our knowledge evolves.
However, there is only one reform that can prevent the execution of an
innocent person. That is, replace the death penalty with life without
The New Jersey Death Penalty Study Commission found that replacing the death
penalty with life imprisonment without parole would save the state millions
that could instead be spent on education, mental health programs, law
enforcement and other critical needs.
More than 50 murder victim family members signed a letter to the New Jersey
Legislature saying the death penalty should be replaced with life
imprisonment without parole. We wholeheartedly agree.
GEORGE WILLOUGHBY LILLIAN WILLOUGHBY
Source : Courier Post