John H. Whitehead
English 128 Whitehead 1
1 December, 1999
A Moratorium on The Death Penalty Should Be Enacted In Illinois
Due to the recent releases of newly exonerated Death Row inmates,
individuals and organizations are calling for a moratorium- a cooling off
period for state executions. The cases of just a few inmates makes it
apparent that this would be a necessary step to save innocent lives.
After 17 years in prison, Illinois Death Row inmate Anthony Porter was
released from jail after a judge threw out his murder conviction following
the introduction of new evidence. This reversal of fortune came just two
days before Porter was to be executed. As reported in USA Today, Porter's
release was the result of investigative research as conducted by a
Northwestern University professor and students. The evidence gathered
suggested that Porter had been wrongly convicted.
Were these new revelations and the subsequent release of Porter a lucky
break or a freak occurrence? Not likely, reports DeWayne Wickham, also of
USA Today. He points out that since the reinstatement of the death penalty
in the United States in 1976, of those sentenced to death, 490 peop
A 1994 Gallup poll asked that if given a choice, which would be a better choice-, the death penalty or life in prison without parole Support for the death penalty (80) dripped to 50 according to the 1995 Bureau of Justice Statistics Report. Soon, Evan's flesh began to smoke and burn. Rowman, 1996 NAACP Legal Defense Fund . 1999: 23A American Bar Association. Throughout its history capital punishment has been opposed on many premises. When given concrete figures the public's support of capital punishment diminishes. le have been executed while 76 have been freed from Death Row. " Many individuals in defense of the death penalty give the argument that a life sentence as compared to execution is a waste of taxpayer money. And in just about every death penalty case, the race of the victim was white. Blackmun, is further cited to state that the potential execution of an innocent individual comes "perilously to simple murder. This opposition to the death penalty intertwined with new revelations all highlights the fact that innocent people are being wrongly sent to Death Row. The disparity in allocation of the death penalty preempted the American Bar Association, in it's 1997 article "The Task Ahead; Reconciling Justice with Politics, to call for jurisdictions that exercise capital punishment to refrain from its use until fairness Whitehead 4 and due process could be assured. This strengthens the call for a death penalty moratorium in Illinois.