Ah the Death Penalty. The most extreme of sentences that can be given out by a Court of Law. In the main most Lib Dems believe that the sentence is unjust and is too far. Some don;’t but that is their call. However the majority of people in the UK would be far more open to the return of the sentence in UK law compared to those in the Lib Dem bubble. The electorate or the General Public – either/or – are far more open to mob rule and the ending of someone’s life.
Personally I’m very much against it. You can make prison a pretty unpleasant experience if you like but ending the life of another human being on purpose without their consent is just plain wrong. Yes there are some evil people out there who probably don’t deserve to share the same air as you or I but who are we to say that they don’t deserve the right to life? Just because one person is evil and one isn’t doesn’t say to say that the evil person is any less human than the person who isn’t.
Anyway we get on to the case of Dewey Bozella. He’s a 52 year-old man who made headlines at the weekend for winning his first (and according to him) only professional boxing fight. Nice story but when you look deeper the reason it made headlines is because he has spent 26 years of his life in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. The murder of an 82 year-old woman. The reason the conviction was quashed? It came to light that the Dutchess County district attorney had failed to disclose crucial evidence which would have proved Bozella’s innocence.
So the local DA had the evidence that would have proved his innocence but they decided not to disclose this. We aren’t talking a corrupt regime here – we are talking the supposed land of the free. If in the USA you can have people who whilst maybe not bent – but certainly aren’t straight in positions of power then there will always be miscarriages of justice.
A case I will always point to is the case involving Durham County’s District Attorney Mike Nifong and the Duke Lacrosse Rape case. I wonder how people would have reacted had that story been in the UK and been more prominent. There are plenty of people I know who were ready to convict the accused before due process had been reached. When the actuals facts and details came out the case collapsed and the men walked free but it goes to show that a DA might not just have justice at the forefront of their minds. They have political and racial issues to tend to as well.
Dewey Bozella was never sentenced to the death penalty but had he lived in another state then he may well have done. He didn’t commit any crime on the day in question and even though he lost 26 years of his life through no fault of his own – he still had a life and when he walked free to had a life to get back to. If he was put to death then what?
I suppose it comes down to this. If even one innocent person is put to death wrongly then the death penalty is just not on. I don’t see there to be any way you can argue against it. I see people say that the death penalty should be for those who ‘truly deserve it’ and for those we are ‘100% sure did the crime’ – well a jury was sure this man did the crime. All jury’s are sure the defendant did the crime otherwise they would convict.
Sadly a miscarriage of justice isn’t a headline any more – it happens every single day in courts up and down the country and all over the world. There are people who act for reasons beyond that of justice. You can never be 100 sure about any conviction where the defendant has protested their innocence. There will always be that small seed of doubt in the back of your mind. Is there evidence that hasn’t been put before the court? Is the evidence all accurate and not contaminated?
There will always be questions and for that reason the death penalty is not the way forward.
Guido Fawkes or Paul Staines as he is otherwise known launched an e-petition for a debate on the restoration of capital punishment in the UK a few months ago in a blaze of publicity that was picked up on by many newspapers. With several MPs backing him it seemed to have a chance but they needed 100,000 signatures on the e-petition and as of writing the blog the count stands at 21,950. This makes me happy.
Dewey Bozella – another man whose life story is another reason why the death penalty is not for me.
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