America needs a national database that tracks serious errors in the death penalty system, including wrongful convictions, based on research by experts at Stanford, Boston University and other universities, according to a new National Academy of Sciences report.
Justice in America is calling for using the database to review the current understanding of what causes wrongful convictions.
“You have to look at different plausible explanations to see what’s been happening, what factors have driven the wrong cases, and why do you think those are happening now?” said Bruce A. Foucart, a member of the Stanford Law Review staff, one of the authors of the report.
The report comes as the Supreme Court prepares to consider a Missouri inmate’s appeal of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that he was falsely convicted of murder because a flawed expert witness told the jury in his 1995 trial that a police detective planted drugs in the defendant’s car.
Planned The database aims to help identify cases where innocent people have been wrongly executed, and in some states today there are scant legal resources for exoneration. Tense at the Supreme Court, sometimes shaky at its lowest ebb, death penalty states are preparing for a potentially wrenching wrenching debate about national capital punishment with a court already fractured over the drug used for lethal injections. In the event the court is divided, the issue is set to crop up again in the not-too-distant future. Many death penalty states have killed at least hundreds of thousands of innocent men and women since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976. Since then, a couple dozen innocent people have been executed. These convicted killers — some innocent but many innocent because of gross violations of the Constitution — are members of a population, undetected for decades, that has the possibility of killing again. They could become the next victims of death penalty states. According to one estimate, about 400 innocent Americans are now living on death row. – the Washington Post