Friday, August 10, 2012

Stop Executions of Innocent People

The Texas justice system must be overhauled. 
Texas legislators must pass a bill making executions illegal. It is shameful that this practice has continued this long. During Gov. Rick Perry’s 12 years, the state has executed a staggering 245 convicts, according to the Texas Tribune. Putting Texans to death allows no room for error in a system where humans call the shots. Throughout the years, a few of those wrongly convicted on death row have been cleared of the charges and left to figure out how to go on after these horrific events. They are the lucky ones. 

The not so lucky ones? They’re the ones whose names were cleared after a needle pumped their veins with a lethal injection they knew they never deserved. Others will never get their names cleared. 

Kerry Max Cook was one of the “lucky” ones. Cook was wrongly convicted for Linda Jo Edwards’ rape and murder in 1977. Finally, Cook was released in 1997. “In the years after, every piece of evidence used to convict Cook was revealed to be bogus,” according to the Texas Tribune. This man was almost murdered for a murder he never convicted. There’s your non-bogus evidence that the justice system is broken. Let’s fix it.

Texas has one of the highest rates of executions and recently, confronted troubles in buying lethal injections (the European factories where the injections would have been made insisted that they not be used for executions). The state has turned to using an injection generally used for animal euthanasia. These are unnecessary concerns for the state to focus on.

Unfortunately, human error, bribery, and tampering with evidence will always occur in the justice system. But there is a way to stop executions of innocent people: limit convictions for top offenders to life in prison and put down the injections for good.

Kerry Max Cook, who wrongly sat on death row, holds his book Chasing Justice. 

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