Like many defense attorneys, I am opposed to the death penalty. But unlike, many defense attorneys, I am not opposed to the death penalty because I think it’s immoral. I’m opposed to the death penalty because I think – as with most government programs – it is open to corruption and errors that have horrible consequences.
It’s clear that innocent people have been executed, whether because of prosecutorial misconduct or because of scientific error or coerced “confessions” or because defense lawyer incompetence. The question is why do we permit the death penalty given the chance for error.
The reason is that in the United States being “tough on crime” is synonymous with being pro-death penalty.
Last year China executed more people than all the rest of the world combined. But the United States was the only country in the Americas that executed anyone. That includes countries like Cuba, which are dictatorships.
As the saying goes, you’re judged by the company you keep.