I found this very cool piece about Judge Elsa Alcala (Texas Court of Criminal Appeals) and her opinions on the death penalty; although it focuses primarily on capital murder cases, it is heartening to see that even a judge on the TCCA questions the accuracy of our justice system. From the article:
Aside from the court’s well-documented missteps, there are other signs of the system’s imperfections in the wave of exonerations of Texans, such as Michael Morton, who were wrongfully convicted and sent to prison for many years, while the true criminals went free. Oftentimes, the guilty go on to commit more crimes, which was true in the Morton case in which the person who murdered Morton’s wife, went on to kill another woman.
It’s worth noting that Texas led the nation in the number of people wrongly convicted of crimes, who were exonerated in 2015, according to figures compiled by the National Registry of Exonerations. In all, 54 people were exonerated for mostly homicide and drug cases going back to 2004. New York was second with 17. False identifications by witnesses, misconduct by police or prosecutors, errors by crime labs or defense attorneys, all are among the things that can and do go wrong.
It’s no wonder Alcala is uncomfortable remaining silent. Doing so perpetuates the fallacy that the state’s death penalty is carried out fairly and justly. That might be what many wish it to be, but it is not the reality.