Skip to main content arrow-down arrow-tail-right arrow-triangle-right calendar camera compass download email eye facebook flag mail phone pin play send square-right tag twitter youtube badge message

12th World Day Against the Death Penalty: Wrongful Convictions and the Death Penalty

  • News
  • 10 Oct 2014

On 27th March 2014, Iwao Hakamada, 78, was removed from death row after serving 47 years in solitary confinement for murder in Japan. He was released from prison after new DNA evidence was made available to the courts which revealed that he may never have committed the crime after all.

Unfortunately, the case of Iwao Hakamada is not uncommon. As we mark the 12th World Day Against the Death Penalty, we remember the many victims of miscarriages of justice. The reality is that wrongful convictions occur in every judicial system, however sophisticated, carrying the risk that innocent people will be executed where the death penalty is applied.

Our recently published report “The inevitability of error: the administration of justice in death penalty cases” provides a snapshot of cases and research findings and demonstrates that no criminal justice system is flawless. In the United States alone, more than 140 people have been removed from death row in the last 40 years because of fresh evidence of their innocence. The recent case of Leon Brown and Henry McCollum, two intellectually-disabled half-brothers who spent more than 30 years in a North Carolina prison for a crime they did not commit, is yet another example. Just two days ago, the Texas Court of Appeal released Manuel Velez after nine years of imprisonment (four of which were on death row), following evidence showing that Velez could not have committed the murder.

There is no perfect justice system and error is inevitable. There is overwhelming evidence that wherever the death penalty is imposed, there is always a risk that innocent people will be convicted and executed. The gravest mistake that any criminal justice system can make is the infliction of the death penalty on an innocent person.

 

 

 

Latest news

Moving Away From the Death Penalty in Guyana
Read More
Why John Hayes MP is so wrong on the death penalty
Read More
Malaysia could lead way in abolishing death penalty
Read More
Launch of new resource: ‘Sentencing in Capital Cases’
Read More
Juvenile offender released in Belize after Caribbean Court of Justice quashes murder conviction
Read More
DPP returns to Taiwan with Keir Starmer QC MP
Read More
Moving away from the mandatory death penalty
Read More
Keir Starmer visits Taiwan to lobby against death penalty
Read More
New project will seek to build movement for abolition of the death penalty in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean States
Read More
Simons Muirhead and Burton LLP recognised for its commitment to The Death Penalty Project
Read More
Sajid Javid has betrayed our values by giving way on the death penalty
Read More
Caribbean Court of Justice strikes down mandatory death penalty in Barbados
Read More
Moving away from the death penalty in Zimbabwe - has the time come for change?
Read More
New opinion study shows Zimbabwean public ready to accept death penalty abolition
Read More
All prisoners serving life sentence in Belize to be re-sentenced following major decision of the Caribbean Court of Justice
Read More
Split Decision (Private Eye on the JCPC's judgment in Jay Chandler)
Read More
UK judges uphold death sentence of Trinidad prisoner despite him “more likely than not” having serious mental illness
Read More

Stay up-to-date with our work