Administration Announces the Return of Federal Executions
In late July, Attorney General Barr announced the reinstatement of the federal death penalty, even as there are growing movements at the state level to repeal the death penalty due to such issues as proven inaccuracy (i.e. wrongful convictions), deep racial biases, and fiscal irresponsibility.
Looking at the data creates cause for alarm: Just since 1973, more than 150 people have been exonerated as innocent from death row; many through post-conviction DNA testing. In addition, according to recent studies, four percent or more of all defendants sentenced to death throughout the United States are innocent and more than half of those on death row are people of color. In fact, some states supreme courts have struck down the death penalty as unconstitutional due to how racially-biased it is.
The Problem Of Eyewitness & Forensic Expert Testimony, Wrongful Convictions, And Plea Bargains; All Born Out Of Fear Of The Death Penalty & Not Necessarily Guilt
A number of those whose capital conditions have been overturned by post-conviction DNA testing were initially convicted based on mistaken identification of eyewitnesses and, as a result, these people narrowly escaped with their lives. There is also no question that the near threat of the death penalty leads to a number of wrongful convictions and defendants to enter into plea-bargains every year, as well as the accused naming other innocents out of fear of receiving death. There is also no question that eyewitness testimony and confession evidence contain a myriad of problems that lead to wrongful convictions, in addition to the application of problematic forensic science, such as experts making erroneous statements that led to the innocent defendants being convicted. In a number of these cases, those wrongfully convicted also received the death penalty.
“Too Final & Too Prone To Error”
Even those whose political parties were once aligned with being pro-death penalty have worked on repeal efforts at the state level after acknowledging problematic error rate and a number of factors that contribute to wrongful convictions, specifically calling the death penalty “too final and too prone to error” to support.
Cruel & Unusual Punishment
The last federal execution occurred in 2003 in Indiana based on the “three-drug protocol.” However, in 2005, three defendants on death row challenged the procedure as cruel and unusual, pointing to a number of examples where visible suffering had occurred during the process. While the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the protocol in 2008, problems with sodium thiopental lead to the current system of relying on the new one-drug protocol with pentobarbital even though evidence has already shown that it is not humane or reliable when it comes to lethal injection.
Contact Our Florida Criminal Defense Attorneys for Protection During Criminal Proceedings
Do not risk being wrongfully convicted in a state like Florida that still relies on the death penalty, or at the federal level. If you have been accused of a crime, contact our experienced Miami and Orlando criminal defense attorneys at the Baez Law Firm today to find out how we can help.