Criminal Punishments Topics
Capital Punishment and Death Penalty
The death penalty is the most severe and final punishment American justice can deliver. Although it was abandoned for many decades in the 20th century, and is only legal in 38 out of 50 states, by the close of the millennium America was leading the Western world in the number of people put to death.
Legal statistics indicate that almost 67% of capital convictions are overturned for a number of different reasons. Many of the cases involve procedural infractions such as:
- Poor police work: the police must follow extremely strict procedures in any criminal case, but capital offenses require even greater attention to detail. The rights of the prisoner, evidence gathering, and witness interviewing are critical to a capital punishment case, but if authorities disregard proper rules it can result in an overturned conviction.
- Jury errors: the 12 people on a jury have the duty and responsibility to be unbiased in their approach to a case, and must not sentence a person to the death penalty if there is a shadow of a doubt that they did not commit the crime. However, there is potential for personal bias, prejudice, and error to destroy the life of an innocent person.
- Improper prosecution: just as the police have proper procedures, prosecuting attorneys and judges must follow rules and regulations. If the appeal process reveals any legal impropriety during the course of the initial case it could result in a new trial, a lesser sentence, or even an overturned conviction.
- New evidence: Revolutionary advances in DNA and forensic technology have allowed defense attorneys to reopen cases once believed to be complete. Further advances will hopefully exonerate wrongly convicted people in the future.
Even though the death penalty is the most serious punishment the law can allow, it is by no means the final word. The best thing that you can do if someone is you love is facing capital punishment is to consult us immediately. Every second you hesitate is a second lost that we could use to help organize and manage your case. When a life is on the line time is of the essence, and our dedicated, experienced, and compassionate lawyers are ready to be there when you need them. Contact us today.