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Ford v Wainwright. 477 U.S. 399 (1986) 22 June, 2008 http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=U.S.&vol=477&invol=399
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Some death penalty opponents have, in some cases, used some disinformation or even deceptive information on occasion to suggest that the death penalty in our country is not accurate. Yet no credible evidence has been provided, known to me, to suggest that a single innocent person has been executed since the Supreme Court imposed the heightened protections in 1976. (U.S. House of Representatives, 2005).
The problem with such a statement is that it ignores the fact that most death penalty opponents do not base their arguments on the likelihood that an innocent person may be executed, but on the fact that the death penalty is imposed in a discriminatory manner or on an argument that the death penalty is immoral. In addition, it depends upon the Representative's definition of credible. There are credible accounts suggesting that factually innocent people have been executed, but the fact that they have been executed means that they will never have the opportunity to have that factual innocence declared in a manner that would satisfy many death penalty advocates.
The above arguments have only briefly touched on religious issues, which is surprising given that morality and religion are so intertwined. In general, advocates of the death penalty believe that it serves out traditional Judeo-Christian ideas of vengeance. Opponents of the death penalty emphasis the role of mercy in modern religions, most particularly Christianity, and suggest that it is God's divine right to exact vengeance, not man's right. However, Sister Helen Prejean, a Catholic nun who has worked extensively in opposition to the death penalty, looks at the issue a little differently. Prejean poses the question, "would Jesus pull the switch"? (Prejean, 1997). Looking at the issue of capital punishment, especially as
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