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IS AN INNOCENT PERSON EVER EXECUTED IN AMERICA? | 2003-07-26

Let me ask a question about the American legal system. Here it is

There are a lot of hardened criminals in prison right now. When they are released will any of them kill innocent people?

There are two answers to this question.

The first is, of course innocent people will be killed by repeaters released this month.

The second answer is, "So what?"

This is a question that doesn't matter. When it comes to innocent non-criminals, nobody expects the legal system to be anywhere near perfect.

Now let me ask you the question that does matter. This is the question to which at least one documentary will be dedicated this week. This is the question on the mind of every European and Canadian

"Has an innocent person ever been executed?"

The crime rate in Europe used to be so low it shamed America. Now a small town in Europe is more dangerous than a big city in America. So what do Europeans worry about?

Europeans worry about the American death penalty.

And we take them seriously.

Only nine percent of American burglars actually enter homes while the family is still at home. This is good, because the effect of burglars breaking into a home with children there is horrible. The children watch their father cowering against the wall, helpless to protect them.

In Britain, almost half of the burglars break into homes when the family is there. The burglary rate in Britain used to be very low. Now every kind of robbery in Britain is far more common than in America.

But if you ask about the crime problems of developed countries, no one will mention those cowering, whining fathers in British homes.

The only question that matters is

"Has an innocent person ever been executed in America?"

In Europe, human life is so important to the legal system that nothing else matters. In America, a lot of things matter besides just keeping people alive.

I would much rather be in America.