USA | States Continue to Oppose DNA Testing in Death Penalty Appeals, Attorneys Ask Why Don’t They Want to Learn the Truth?

The last 3 men scheduled for execution in Georgia said they did not commit the killing and that DNA testing that was not available at the time of trial could prove it. In 2 of the cases, victim family members supported the request for testing. Prosecutors opposed the requests, and the courts refused to allow the testing. 2 of the 3 men were executed, with doubts still swirling as to their guilt.
Shawn Nolan, a federal defender who represented Georgia prisoner Ray “Jeff” Cromartie, summed up the sentiments of the prisoners, families, and defense attorneys in these cases. “I’d like to know what the state is so scared of,” he said. “Why are they afraid of the truth? This is sad and so disturbing.”
“We have the capability of testing a wide range of forensic evidence that we couldn’t test in the past,” said Death Penalty Information Center Executive Director Robert Dunham. “It is a powerful tool to get to the truth and to get important answers as to whether the criminal legal system has b…

Changing your mind about the death penalty

A lot of people opposed to the death penalty have stories of conversion, but none could possibly be more powerful than those who have been victimized by the crimes eligible for such a punishment.

The family members of murder victims are often assumed to be of one mind on the death penalty. I know of no study that quantifies what percentage may be opposed, and I doubt we could ever really know, but the group Murder Victims' Families for Human Rights has asked some of its members to walk us through their own conversion stories. It's powerful reading.

Here's part of one mother's story: "It was expected by everyone that I would want the death penalty. Not a single person ever sat down and talked with me about other options..."

Source: The Dallas Morning News, Sept. 29, 2009

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