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

Compounded Violence: Domestic Abuse and the Mandatory Death Penalty in Ghana and Sierra Leone
Read More
Delegation to Guyana on Sentencing in Capital Cases
Read More
Aron John, former death row prisoner, regains freedom after 16 years in prison in Malawi
Read More
New term, new chance to reevaluate death penalty
Read More
Zimbabwe court declares corporal punishment on juvenile offenders to be inhuman and humiliating
Read More
‘Always against the death penalty, except in the case of my father’
Read More
African Court of Human and People's Rights rejects mandatory death penalty challenge on technical grounds
Read More
Poor knowledge underlines death penalty support: study
Read More
New reports on public opinion and unsafe convictions provide momentum for reform of capital punishment in Taiwan
Read More
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

Stay up-to-date with our work

Skip to toolbar