I didn’t really want to do another post on the death penalty or anything related to it. But it seems to me that stories about people being freed after serving long sentences for crimes they didn’t commit have been popping up a lot. One article in particular about a man in Texas being freed after 30 years in prison for a rape he didn’t commit caught my attention yesterday.
A little background: In my past I was a hard-core death penalty supporter. Even now, I can’t say I am totally against it, if it’s administered perfectly without error. Which, of course, I can’t see how it could possibly be. As I’ve stated in these articles here and here, my mind began to change after reading the John Grisham book, The Innocent Man.
I was a little familiar with the subject of John Grisham’s book before he wrote on it, but after I knew more about the facts it made my blood boil how people could be so heartless as to fry a man just because he was a “freak” without having a shred of evidence.
Actually, it scared me.
I know what the Word of God says:
Do not deny justice to your poor people in their lawsuits. 7 Have nothing to do with a false charge and do not put an innocent or honest person to death, for I will not acquit the guilty.8 “Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds those who see and twists the words of the righteous. (Exodus 23:6-8 NIV)
Regardless of my opinion on whether a man deserves death or not, and whether or not God gives governments that power, His word declares an innocent man isn’t to be put to death, nor are we to entertain false charges against anyone. Period.
A couple of recent articles in Texas Monthly Magazine about a man named Anthony Graves merely cements my viewpoint on this.
Anthony Graves was a man convicted of a gruesome murder and burning of the victims in Somerville, Texas about 20 years ago. His conviction came in spite of the actual murderer, Robert Carter, denying Anthony Graves had anything to do with it. Additionally, Anthony Graves had a good alibi complete with witnesses.
It’s a disgusting tale of ignorant police work, heartless investigation practices, and a desire merely to close a murder case at any cost. Even if that cost was an innocent man’s life. The worst of all is it’s a tale of district attorneys looking to make a name for themselves on the backs of innocent, poor, uneducated, and mostly minority men. A situation that is all too common in Texas these days.
To all who are death penalty supporters, again I would suggest you do a little research. Start with my article here and the links contained in it. Read the John Grisham book The Innocent Man. Move on to the David Dow book An Autobiography Of An Execution. Perform Google searches on how many innocent people have been freed because of DNA or other evidence.
Take a look at the total unreliability of eyewitness evidence and especially confessions from “criminals” who are subjected to hours and hours of questioning while being hungry, thirsty, and sleep deprived (a common interrogation tactic in many police departments). Over and over again it’s being proved people will confess to anything after being interrogated in this manner, even crimes they didn’t commit.
You’ll be amazed at what you’ll uncover.
Most of all, I appeal to my fellow Christians. We need to hop off the conservative bandwagon and stop parroting what so many of our conservative politicians are advocating and be people who are driven by the Word of God.
We need to see that true justice is done. True justice…..that no innocent man is put to death or wrongly incarcerated for lengthy prison sentences.
Please, my fellow Christians, pray about this…..search it out……turn every stone over and examine them….please be assured you’re on the side of true justice.