DNA evidence freed Ray Krone after 10 years in prison, (four on Arizona's death row).
Without any physical evidence, Gary Gauger was sentenced to death.
Ronald Keine, was 10 days away from the New Mexico death chamber when another man's confession got him a new trial.
Dennis Williams lived on death row 25 feet away from the electric chair. If not for DNA testing he would be dead.
Kirk Bloodsworth was released from death row after being wrongfully accused, convicted and sentenced to death.
In 1993, Gary Gauger who lived on the family farm and worked for his father, found his father in a pool of blood. He became a double homicide suspect .when police discovered his mother's body,
After 14 years on Florida's death row, Frank Lee Smith was cleared of the rape and murder of 8-year-old Shandra Whitehead, a result of DNA technology unavailable when he was convicted. He died of cancer in prison ten months before his conviction was overturned,
Kevin Cooper, 46, a convicted killer on California's death row for over 20 years, won a stay of execution, hours before he was to be executed. The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals granted a request for an 11-judge panel to rehear Cooper's case.
In 1972, the US Supreme Court ruled state executions unconstitutional. Legislators lifted the moratorium on capital punishment in 1976. The US has the distinction of joining China, Iraq, Iran, and Saudi Arabia as nations that execute their citizens. Michigan, Wisconsin, Maine, Minnesota, North Dakota, Hawaii, Alaska, Iowa, West Virginia, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont and the District of Columbia prohibit executions. In the US, most executions are in the south, usually Texas. Since 2000, death sentences have declined 60% in the US and executions have too. Yet more than 3,300 people, live on death row but only two percent will be executed. DPIC
The Innocence Project founded in 1992 by Barry C. Scheck and Peter J. Neufeld to assist prisoners who could be proven innocent through DNA testing. To date, 280 people in the US have been exonerated by DNA testing They served an average of 13 years before exoneration and release.
History of the Death Penalty -- The first recorded death sentence was in 16th Century BC Egypt. A member of nobility, was accused of magic, and ordered to take his own life. Non nobility were usually killed with an ax. In18th century BC, the Code of King Hammurabi of Babylon allowed the death penalty for 25 crimes, but not murder. Legal executions came to America in 1776 when British soldiers hung Nathan Hale for spying during the Revolutionary War.August 6, 1890, an ax murderer, William Kemmler of New York became the first person to die in the electric chair.
The death penalty is not cost effective: The death penalty comes at a great cost. Californians and federal taxpayers pay more than $250 million per execution. In California, the cost of confining one death row inmate is $90,000 per year more than in a maximum-security prison. Maryland spent $186 million on five executions over 27 years. In Maryland, 106 death penalty cases cost the state $71 million. Florida spends $51 million per year on the death penalty or $24 million for each execution.New York and New Jersey spent over $100 million on death penalty cases without one execution. Georgia death penalty case defense costs are over $2 million. The average defense cost for a federal capital case is $620,932; 8 times that of a non-capital murder case. In Kansas, the trial costs for death cases were16 times greater than for non-death cases ($508,000 for death case; $32,000 for non-death case). New Mexico abolished the death penalty in 2009 due to costs. Between 1973 - 1995, 68% of the death penalty convictions were reversed. DPIC States spending millions on the death penalty suffer a lack of funds for safety and justice. Courts are cutting hours, trials are delayed, and police are furloughed. Philadelphia is leaving 200 police positions unfilled. Police in Atlanta had a 10% pay cut through a furlough as they experienced a crime increase. In New Hampshire, criminal and civil jury trials were suspended for a month, in one county, 77 criminal trials were delayed for up to six months. In 2010, executions dropped by 12% compared with 2009, and more than 50% since 1999. New death sentences was about the same as in 2009, the lowest number in 34 years.DPIC Smart on Crime: Reconsidering the Death Penalty in a Time of Economic Crisis National Poll of Police Chiefs Puts Capital Punishment at Bottom of Law Enforcement Priorities Death Penalty Information Center DPIC
The Execution traces the life, crimes and execution of self-confessed death row murderer, Clifford Boggess, that led up to his Texas execution in 1998.
The 1960 execution of Caryl Chessman. Known as the Red Light Bandit, Chessman allegedly stalked lovers' lanes in Los Angeles. Convicted of rape and kidnapping, he was sentenced to death in 1948. In prison he gained notoriety as a writer, beginning with his autobiographical Cell 2455 Death Row (1954). Chessman presented himself as an innocent man -- rehabilitated from his prior life of crime. Chessman convinced thousands of Californians to Support him, but Governor Edmund G. (Pat) Brown, who opposed the death penalty, allowed the execution to go forward.