New evidence can be found, new witnesses can emerge, and forensics and DNA technology can improve. Innocent people wrongly found guilty and sentenced to life in prison can later be freed–the executed cannot.
- “From 1976 through last year, of the 78 people sentenced to death in Kentucky, 50 had their sentences overturned on appeal, with 15 of those for prosecutorial mistakes or misconduct.” [New York Times]
- Since 1973, 146 death row inmates have been exonerated. [Death Penalty Information Center]
- “30 other inmates whom Kentucky circuit judges sent to death row over the past 33 years ultimately have seen their sentences reduced as the result of appeals, suggesting widespread flaws at the trial level.” [Louisville Courier-Journal]
- Kentucky freed Larry Osborne from its death row in 2002. A jury acquitted him in a second trial of murder after the Kentucky Supreme Court reversed his original conviction because the trial court allowed inadmissible hearsay testimony. [The Associated Press]
- Nine people in Kentucky have been exonerated after being wrongly found guilty with the help of the Kentucky Innocence Project. [WHAS]
- Recent scientific reports indicate Texas likely executed an innocent man in 2004, Cameron Todd Willingham, for the arson murder of his three children. Experts now say the blaze was an accident. [The New Yorker]
For more evidence that Kentucky’s death penalty is risky, read our blog.