Death Penalty Committee

Plowshare’s Death Penalty Committee formerly held candlelight vigils on the nights of executions in Virginia. (This was from 8:45 to 9:15 PM as executions in Virginia took place at 9:00 PM).

The good news is that Virginia officially abolished the death penalty March 24, 2021 (and Plowshare had a small part in accomplishing that).

If you are like most U.S. citizens, you haven’t really thought about why the Death Penalty is hated by so many people…

Aside from the many philosophical arguments, pro and con, there are two glaring problems in allowing the death penalty.

First, the problem of witnesses being absolutely sure that someone (the wrong person) was the perpetrator is all too common. What happens sometimes, is that terror or personal prejudices felt by the witnesses during tragic events can scramble their perceptions and memories. It may be understandable, given the stress involved, but it can lead to a wrongful conviction. This is bad enough, but when it leads to an execution of an innocent person, then we need to rethink our laws.

But even worse are the regular occurrences of prosecutorial misconduct. There are simply too many unethical attorneys who only care about winning the case. Their careers and egos are more important to them than the truth, or the lives of innocent strangers.

Here’s a site with info on nearly 200 wrongful executions. This is a fraction of the actual number, as many are too far in the past to locate documents, witnesses, DNA, etc. Death Penalty Information Center