On May 27th, the Clarksville Leaf Chronicle printed an article entitled, “Don’t Delay Justice.” The article advocated that Tennessee’s death penalty process denied justice to victim’s families because of the amount of time death penalty appeals are litigated. The article proposes to speed up the appeals process and by doing so, limit the trauma for victim’s families.
It is absolutely true that victim’s families are put through extreme agony by long appeals, often having to relive their loss over and over. And the financial cost to litigate the appeals process is extremely high, many times more than a non-capital case. But at what risk are we taking by reducing the time frame of appeals? And who would be most at risk?
Since 1976 there have been 138 people released from death rows across the country when evidence of their wrongful convictions emerged, including two people from Tennessee’s death row – Michael McCormick in 2007 and Paul House in 2009. The death penalty system simply cannot guarantee that we will never execute an innocent person. Speeding up the appeals process would only increase the odds that an innocent person might be put to death. None of us would call that justice.
Please see the link to read the entire Clarksville Leaf Chronicle article:
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