Opinion

Oregonian Column: "Death for the Death Penalty"

The following column appeared in the Oregonian on November 8, 2010. It tells the story of Anthony Graves, a Texas capital inmate who was recently exonerated from death row. An investigation concluded that there was no evidence that tied him to the crime. He is the 138th former death row inmate to be released.

Death for the Death Penalty

By Leonard Pitts, Jr.

A few days ago, Anthony Graves called his mother and asked what she was cooking for dinner. She asked why he wanted to know. He said, "Because I'm coming home."

Oregonian Letter to Editor: Abolish Oregon's Death Penalty

Oregonian Letter to Editor: Abolish Oregon's Death Penalty

Regarding "Hard choices: Oregon's money crisis" (Sept. 29): In a time of extreme budget crisis within the state of Oregon and the country as a whole, simple ways to reduce budgetary deficits while continuing to provide the citizenry with necessary social services at an adequate level seem all the more important. One very simple way to accomplish this goal, as well as ensure that we have a criminal justice system for all Oregonians, is to abolish Oregon's capital punishment statute.

David Garland: Five Myths about the Death Penalty

On September 5, 2010, David Garland, professor of law and sociology at New York University wrote an oped article that appeared in the Oregonian on September 5, 2010. His book Peculiar Institution: America’s Death Penalty in an Age of Abolition is forthcoming this fall. The article centers around 5 points:

1. The United States is a death-penalty nation. In fact this country barely uses the death penalty.

Retiring Justice John Paul Stevens Pleas for Abolition of the Death Penalty

Retiring Justice John Paul Stevens Pleas for Abolition of the Death Penalty

Commentary by Ron Steiner OADP Outreach Chair -- Speaking at a large convention of judges and lawyers, in Columbus, Ohio, last night retiring Supreme Count Justice John Paul Stevens made a direct and emotional plea to abolish the death penalty. Among his comments before the assembled legal veterans, Stevens said, “The risk of an incorrect decision has increased”. Responding to a question about his 2008 assertion that the death penalty should be abolished, he said that “because of advances in DNA testing”, which have led to the freeing of some innocent convicts, “we’re more aware of the risk than we might have been before.”

Seattle PI: Cost of Death Penalty are Punishing the Innocent

Commentary by By Brendan Williams -- Costs of Death Penalty are Punishing the Innocent. We simply cannot keep punishing the innocent, including actual crime victims, by keeping a death penalty we cannot afford.

New York Times: Innocent but Dead

There is a long and remarkable article in the current New Yorker about a man who was executed in Texas in 2004 for deliberately setting a fire that killed his three small children. Rigorous scientific analysis has since shown that there was no evidence that the fire in a one-story, wood frame house in Corsicana was the result of arson, as the authorities had alleged. In other words, it was an accident. No crime had occurred. Cameron Todd Willingham, who refused to accept a guilty plea that would have spared his life, and who insisted until his last painful breath that he was innocent, had in fact been telling the truth all along.

Judges’ Dissents for Death Row Inmates Are Rising

By JOHN SCHWARTZ -- It took just 80 words for a federal appeals court to deny Kevin Cooper’s most recent plea to avoid execution. But attached to that order was a forceful 101-page dissent by a judge, all but pleading to spare Mr. Cooper’s life. “The State of California may be about to execute an innocent man,” it began. The judge who wrote the dissent, William A. Fletcher of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, argued that the police and prosecutors had withheld and tampered with evidence in the case for decades; Judge Fletcher even accused the district court of having sabotaged the case.

Press Release: More Mistakes Found In Death Row Convictions

Within the past two weeks two more men have left a death row prison, found innocent after serving years for crimes that did not commit. These two exonerations mark #134 and #135 since 1973, and five already in the first seven months of 2009. “The five exonerations this year demonstrate that innocent people still face a significant danger of execution in this country”, said Richard Dieter, Executive Director of the Death Penalty Information Center.

April 23, 2009 Editorial: 'Can Oregon Afford the Death Penalty?'--as School Funding is Reduced

An editorial The Daily Astorian, contrasts the state’s use of funds for the death penalty to the state's reduction in funding for education.  “The glaring contrast to our unquestioning spending on the death penalty - which Judge Lipscomb called ‘this largely futile attempt’ - is our disinvestment in education,” the paper noted.  “Investment in education is about the future, and it is about hope. Investment in prisons and especially in the death penalty is about a final reckoning, an admission of gross failure.

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