Words can’t describe how heavy my heart is right now.
The (not so great) State of Alabama has put to death a man innocent of the crimes he was charged with. I have strong empathy for the anguish his family and friends must be enduring. One can hardly imagine the stress and hopelessness Nathaniel Woods and those close to him felt as his fate was sealed, contrary to justice.
I have no moral objection to the death penalty; some people may deserve to die. I have a strong moral objection to the State doing it, they so often get it wrong as they did in the case of Nathaniel Woods. It has been estimated in the last 35 years at least 50 innocent people have been put to death in the United States. Does this sound like justice? What happened to the old maxim of our common law as described by William Blackstone:
"Better that ten guilty persons escape, than that one innocent suffer." Benjamin Franklin even went further "it is better a hundred guilty persons should escape than one innocent person should suffer."
As in the case of Nathaniel Woods we can see the State and its enforcement system, misnamed the justice system, is more interested in procedure, self-promotion for its agents, and power, than right or wrong.
This is why I wholly support the Libertarian Party Plank on the death penalty and the Radical Caucus’s planks on justice. We simply do not believe the State should kill people in the name of justice. When mistakes are made, and an innocent person loses their life, there is no possible way to come back from that injustice.
My hope is we the people put enough pressure on the States that they will be forced to end these horrific practices, no matter what their political ideology may be.
LP Radical Caucus
Libertarian Party activist
Whatcom County LP Chair
- National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty - Exonerations of Innocent Men and Women
- 8 People Who Were Executed and Later Found Innocent
- The Innocence Project - The Innocent and the Death Penalty
- How Many Innocent People Are Sentenced To Death? (Forbes, Newsweek)
- Death Penalty Information Center - Death Row Exonerations
- Death Penalty Information Center - Executed But Possibly Innocent