In theory, I support the death penalty for people who commit crimes that cry out for such justice. However, my lack of faith in the law-enforcement and justice systems, in both the developed and undeveloped world, because of these systems’ propensity to wrongfully accuse, charge, try and convict innocent people (obviously usually men) has turned me against a state’s legal ability to utilize capital punishment.
My skepticism towards law-enforcement and justice systems is based primarily on my own wrongful conviction: I myself was wrongly accused and found guilty of possessing alcohol as a minor about 25 years ago: The two officers who’d perjured themselves by knowingly falsely testifying that they’d apprehended me with alcohol had written down in their “particulars” that the offender had brown hair and blue eyes, whereas I have red hair and brown eyes. These blatant contradictions alone should have cleared me of the false charge, which might explain why my counsel had such a difficult time getting the accusing officers to bring to court their written description of the actual person they had apprehended. (Years later, an old friend told me that he was sure that I wouldn’t get caught in a web of police lies when he’d given the corrupt cops my name and address; sincerely apologizing, he reimbursed me for the fine I had to pay). But even with all of the evidence in my favour—which included an alibi who swore under oath—the judge still found me guilty.
Of course I cannot compare my case (a wrongful liquor-possession-as-a-minor charge and conviction) to that of a false accusation of capital murder; however, my experience seems to indicate that no police charge is too trivial for the ‘justice’ system to wrongly convict.
Frank G. Sterle, Jr.
White Rock, B.C., Canada
The triviality of your case is no indication of the unreliability of more important cases.
Justice is pretty rough.
Sadly it id the job of a policeman to get convictions. The rest is luck. If they think they can make it stick they can charge as many people as they like until they get one that does. It use to be that victims (that is us) of police scrutiny were immune to a second prosecution under double jeopardy legislation, but now even that has been washed away with habeus corpus.
. You need to get lucky with your lawyer, and lucky to find an honest prosecutor.
I've never supported the death penalty. I consider that a single mistake is not a fair price to pay. It is only fair to assume that the single mistake would have ME or a lived one swinging by the neck - I think this is the only fair way to look at it.
But life imprisonment is a small price to pay to avoid such mistakes.