Tuesday, November 30, 2004
A review of court records since 1999 shows that, of the last 22 inmates removed from death row when their sentences were finally resolved:
•12 had their death sentences reversed and were ordered to serve lesser sentences;
•Six were released after the courts ordered the first-degree murder charges dismissed;
•One died of natural causes; and,
•Three were executed.
Two of the three who were executed were represented by attorneys no longer allowed to practice law, according to the Louisiana Office of Disciplinary Counsel. One of the lawyers was disbarred after being found to have participated in a laundry list of improper behavior involving several cases. The other lost his license because of mental health problems.
Professor Green commented: "That 27 percent of all capital convictions led to exonerations is shocking . . . I can't see how any criminal justice system can tolerate that level of error, particularly in the matter of the death penalty . . . It is unacceptable." [Jack Chin]