Joe Amrine spent 17 years on death row waiting to be executed for a crime he didn't commit. He writes on behalf of Moratorium Now!, a campaign to bring about a national moratorium on executions. Before advances in DNA technology began to demonstrate the shockingly significant risk that an innocent person will be put to death, Amrine knew that mistakes happen. He's lucky to be living proof of that fact.
We know now that eye-witness testimony, jailhouse informants or “snitches,” and even confessions do not always result in a proper conviction. But what have we done to ensure that these potentially deadly mistakes aren’t made?
Missouri has never had a thorough examination of our death penalty system. The state set me free, acknowledging an innocent man had been in prison awaiting execution for nearly two decades. Five years have passed, and still no study has been done to guarantee that another person won’t be set to die for a crime he did not commit. This baffles and horrifies me.
The last sentence in his essay is inarguable:
The state can always set the innocent free; bringing the dead back to life is outside its capacity.