“You can release an innocent man from prison, but you can’t release him from the grave.”
-Freddie Lee Pitts, Florida death row survivor.
Updates: On Tuesday October 1, 2013, Maryland's repeal of the death penalty became law. NACDL applauds Maryland, now the 18th state to abolish the death penalty.
The Death Penalty Information Information Center recently released a report entitled The 2% Death Penalty: How a Minority of Counties Produce Most Death Cases at Enormous Costs to All. The report examines the unequal application of the death penalty across the country and counties.
NACDL opposes the death penalty in all circumstances and supports reforms to ensure that innocent persons are not executed. Purely retributive in nature — countless studies show that it does not deter crime — the death penalty is unjust, uncivilized, and inconsistent with the fallibility of our justice system. Since reinstatement of the death penalty in 1973, more than 1,040 people have been executed in the United States. During the same time, more than 120 people sentenced to death have been exonerated. Many others have had their sentences commuted to life imprisonment because of serious doubts about their guilt. And some have been tragically executed despite serious questions concerning their innocence.
Because we believe that no amount of tinkering will rescue the death penalty from its inherent flaws, NACDL supports legislation to abolish the death penalty. In addition, NACDL supports individual state efforts to halt and study the death penalty as well as federal legislation to institute a moratorium. NACDL's Board Resolution Calling for a Moratorium on and Abolition of the Death Penalty.
In addition, NACDL's January 2012 National Advocacy Call on Developing Legislation featuring a discussion on death penalty moratorium reform efforts around the country. For more information on the National Advocacy Calls on Developing Legislation please click here.