The Commander supported the death penalty most of his adult Life, on the assumption that some criminals:
deserve the final sleep when there is no doubt about their guilt (In my home state I would have volunteered to pull the lever on this individual.)
Recent results by the Innocence Project have soured my feelings on Capital Punishment, ex specially when the only evidence is eyewitness identification:
- •Seventeen people had been sentenced to death before DNA proved their innocence and led to their release.
•The average sentence served by DNA exonerees has been 13 years.
•About 70 percent of those exonerated by DNA testing are members of minority groups.
•In almost 40 percent of DNA exoneration cases, the actual perpetrator has been identified by DNA testing.
•Exoneration's have been won in 34 states and Washington, D.C.
Alabama does not provide taxpayer-funded legal assistance to death-row inmates seeking to appeal their sentence (South Carolina felt the same way in 1944, even for a 14 year old), so Mr. Maples found a couple of layers from New York, however:
- ..18 months nothing happened with his appeal, during which period his young lawyers left their firm without notifying Maples or the court. They did tell the mailroom. So when the Alabama court sent a ruling to his two lawyers indicating that his appeal had been denied, the mailroom stamped it “Return to Sender” and sent it back to Alabama. The county clerk stuck it in a file and Maples—who knew nothing of any of this—missed the 42-day deadline for filing another appeal. Maples’ local counsel, John Butler Jr., also received a copy of the ruling, but because he believed he was Maples’ lawyer in name only, he did nothing with it.