Saturday, October 13, 2007
Gallup's Poll Sixty-nine Percent Americans Support Death Penalty
Capital punishment is overwhelmingly supported by the American people.
Sixty-nine percent of Americans support the Death Penalty and the majority say death penalty is applied fairly. Highest point was in 1994, but its risen in the last 4 years.
The Oct. 4-7 Gallup poll indicates that 69% of Americans respond "yes" when asked this question: "Are you in favor of the death penalty for a person convicted of murder?" This level of support for the death penalty is generally in line with the level of support that Gallup has measured in 13 polls featuring this question since 1999.
Most people do not know the danger that innocent people will be executed because of errors in the criminal justice system. Most Americans do not know the reasons, why innocent people are wrongly convicted in capital cases. The reasons included:
eyewitness error - from confusion or faulty memory.
government misconduct - by both the police and the prosecution.
junk science - mishandled evidence or use of unqualified "experts."
snitch testimony - often given in exchange for a reduction in sentence.
false confessions - resulting from mental illness or retardation, as well as from police torture
other - hearsay, questionable circumstantial evidence, etc.
The current emphasis on faster executions by the government, and less resources for the defense, and an expansion in the number of death cases mean that the execution of innocent people is inevitable. There is an increasing number of innocent defendants being found on death row. That is a clear sign that our process for sentencing people to death is fraught with many errors which cannot be remedied once an execution occurs.
Two Great Quotes
"People are largely unaware of the information critical to a judgement on the morality of the death penalty . . . if they were better informed they would consider it shocking, unjust and unacceptable."
-- Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.
"Perhaps the bleakest fact of all is that the death penalty is imposed not only in a freakish and discriminatory manner, but also in some cases upon defendants who are actually innocent."
-Justice William J. Brennan, Jr., 1994