- Reason Awakes -

Death Penalty


The use of DNA based evidence in criminal forensics has provided incontrovertible proof that we sometimes sentence innocent people to death. Numerous other studies have also demonstrated that eye witness testimony can be inaccurate and that innocent people will sometimes confess to crimes they have not committed. 

However, there is a natural reluctance to ban the use of the death penalty for certain, especially heinous, crimes.

A Proposal for a New Burden of Proof in Capital Punishment Cases

We suggest a compromise: establish a new burden of proof for death penalty cases, that exceeds "beyond a reasonable doubt" and call it "beyond all doubt" or something similar. The criteria for this new burden of proof would exclude convictions based on eye witness identifications of one or two witnesses. It would also exclude convictions based on confessions that are not accompanied by video recordings of the entire interrogation.


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