Alan Berlow in the Atlantic Monthly suggests that some innocents
might have actually been executed. They would have slipped through
the cracks of an inefficient and unequal judicial system. Berlow
points out that in 18 death-penalty states there exist no statewide
public-defender organizations at all, and that the rest are seriously
underfunded. The lower-classes and minorities (African Americans,
especially) suffer disproportionately. A 1998 Amnesty
International report concluded that the US death penalty
is applied in a racist and arbitrary manner. Berlow cites the case
of a black man indicted for murder in Georgia who was assigned an
eighty-three-year-old former imperial wizard of the Ku Klux Klan
as attorney. No wonder that in 1997 the American Bar Association
(an impartial national group of practicing lawyers) passed a resolution
calling for a halt on executions until courts across the country
could ensure that justice was being done. Whatever your feelings
about the death penalty in theory, it is clear that, in practice,
it has been a failure: innocent people are being killed.
Yet still the
slaughter continues. As Christopher
Hitchens points out, George W. Bush has signed an execution
warrant almost every two weeks since his election as governor of
Texas. He is simply an egregious case of the rule: despite the declining
crime rate in the US, no leading presidentiual candidate has come
out against the death penalty. This petition is sponsored by Slowdown,
a student organization at Stanford University dedicated to promoting
humane and gentle values in American politics (read more about Slowdown
in "About"). We are a non-partisan, non-commercial group; this petitions
is concerned only with putting an end to state-sponsored murder.
If you support our cause, please fill in the form below. The completed
petition will be sent to leading presidential candidates of the
Republican and Democratic parties, as well as to all viable third
party candidates. Click here
for a list of candidates who will receive the petition.
To sign this petition, fill out the fields below and
click on submit. Only your name and state will be
released to the recipients of this petition (this
petition will be mailed to leading presidential
candidates; click here
to see a list), and we will not reveal any information stemming
from this petition to anyone else. Your email address will only
be used to verify your identity, and will not be released to any
other party. You must be a U.S. citizen to sign this
support Slowdown's efforts to stop the death penalty in America.
As a leading presidential candidate, you have the power to change
the terms of debate on this topic; as a potential president, you
will be in a position to effect real change. As an American, I ask
you to use your voice and authority to hasten the end of state-sponsored
Atlantic Monthly - Alan Berlow makes a convincing
case that innocents may have been executed, and that the death
penalty is biased against racial minorities and people from
the lower classes. This article reveals the rotten core of
the American judicial system.
Death Penalty Information Center - Contains
news and statistics about the death penalty and its application
in the US and around the world.
International - A stinging indictment from
Amnesty International of the US legal system and its racially
biased application of capital punishment.
- A resource for legal material related to the death penalty.
Human Rights - A comprehensive listing of links
related to the death penalty.
Hartford Advocate - Another article
about mistakes in the application of the death penalty.
- Christopher Hitchens points out that the leading Republican
presidential contender, George W. Bush, is a trigger-happy
executioner. How, he asks, does Bush square his support for
the death penalty with his "compassionate conservatism"?