Innocent Lives Lost
Mead Shumway of Nebraska was convicted of the first-degree murder of his employer?s wife on circumstantial evidence and sentenced to death by a jury. His last words before his execution were: ?I am an innocent man. May God forgive everyone who said anything against me.? The next year, the victim?s husband confessed that he had murdered his own wife (Radelet, Bedau, Putnam 347).
There are numerous amounts of incidents similar to the one depicted above that have repeatedly occurred throughout the course of history. Two highly distinguishable figures in the area of capital punishment in the United States, Hugo Bedau and Michael Radelet, discovered in 1992, at least 140 cases, since 1990, in which innocent persons were sentenced to death (Hook and Kahn 92). In Illinois alone, 12 death row inmates have been cleared and freed since 1987 (Execution Reconsidered). The most conclusive evidence in support of this ?comes from the surprisingly large numbers of people whose convictions have been overturned and who have been freed from death? (Bedau 345). One out of every seven people sentenced to death row are innocent (Civiletti). That?s nearly 15% of death row inmates.
The numbers are disturbing. Innocent people are becoming victims
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