Tuesday, December 20, 2005

 

Tale of a Death Row Exoneree

Today, the radio program Democracy Now, hosted by Amy Goodman, spent an hour interviewing Harold Wilson, a man who spent 16 years on Pennsylvania's death row and recently became the 122nd death row prisoner exonerated since the resumption of executions in 1977. I'd encourage everyone to listen to this program live or over the web, if they have the chance. It's worth remembering that there are human faces to exonerations.

Moreover, as Mr. Wilson attests, after his exoneration, after 16 years of being imprisoned, dehumanized, and threatened with death, he's simply released with a bus token. We need to remember and shed light on the way we treat the people who's lives we've torn apart by incorrectly accusing and convicting them of horrendous crimes. The state should not simply be able to say, "oops, our bad." The state of Pennsylvania owes Harold Wilson some form of compensation, as the other 24 states owe the other 121 death row exonerees. And we all owe it to them and to ourselves to take a more serious look at issues of prosecutorial misconduct, ineffective council, and police malfeasance.
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