Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The death penalty elephant has been acknowledged

With Senator Greenleaf's innocence commission bill, I've been concerned that the death penalty would be the elephant in the room that everyone can see but no one wants to acknowledge.

Well, the elephant has landed. From the memo to the Judiciary Committee on SB 1069:
Nationally, 174 individuals have been exonerated through postconviction DNA testing; 14 of those individuals spent time on death row. Eight individuals have been exonerated in Pennsylvania through postconviction DNA test. Three of the individuals were in prison for murder and one of the three was on death row.

Bravo to Gregg Warner, Senator Greenleaf's counsel, for not allowing the death penalty to be swept under the rug.

The one death row DNA exoneration referred to in the memo is Nick Yarris. It is also worth mentioning that the introduction of DNA evidence from the crime scene helped lead to the acquittal at retrial of Harold Wilson of Philadelphia, after 16 years on death row.


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