At a recent lecture at the University of Florida, Justice John Paul Stevens said there is evidence “beyond a shadow of a doubt” that Texas executed an innocent man in 1989.
Justice Stevens referenced the book “The Wrong Carlos” which tells the story of Carlos DeLuna, a 27-year-old man who was executed for a murder in 1983. The book, by Columbia Law School professor James Liebman and a team of his students, provides compelling evidence that DeLuna was innocent and the actual killer remained free.
“The person they executed did not in fact commit the crime for which he was punished,” Justice Stevens said. “Society should not take the risk that that might happen again.”
We know that innocent people end up on Death Row, even though Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has insisted that no innocent man has ever been executed. Scalia wrote in 2006 during Kansas v. Marsh:
“It should be noted at the outset that the dissent does not discuss a single case – not one – in which it is clear that a person was executed for a crime he did not commit. If such an event had occurred in recent years, we would not have to hunt for it; the innocent’s name would be shouted from the rooftops by the abolition lobby.”
WE’RE SHOUTING, JUSTICE SCALIA.