Tuesday, May 12, 2009

An ex-Utahn cleared after 22 years on death row - that's why we don't rush it, Mr. Shurtleff

A few years ago, we read about a former Utahn, Paul Gregory House, whose death sentence for a 1985 murder in Tennessee had been upheld, even though almost half of the appeals court judges believed he was not guilty -- not just that reasonable doubt existed, but that he was in fact completely innocent.

It took a few more years, and more appeals, until finally the United States Supreme Court said that House was entitled to a new trial. The Court went even further, stating that this was a case in which no reasonable jury could have found House guilty, and that the evidence pointed to "another suspect."

Prosecutors finally acknowledged that today, dropping all charges against House and clearing him after 22 years on death row. So now, we wonder, how does Mark Shurtleff feel about cutting off death row appeals?

3 comments:

Frank Staheli said...

DISCLAIMER: I have never had a family member murdered, so I apologize to those who have for sounding so callous.

This is why it bothers me so much that the family members of the murdered are allowed to bring their emotions into their court testimonies, because such emotions invariably imply (and thus taint the proceedings) that the defendant IS the guilty one.

The penchant to punish someone (anyone) regardless of whether reasonable doubt exists is the main reason that I can't in good conscience support the death penalty anymore.

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