From 1976 to today, more than 1200 offenders have been put to death in the United States. During this same period, almost 140 convicts on death row have been exonerated of their crimes. These figures are troubling. The number of individuals on death row that have been exonerated is almost 12% of the total number of offenders executed. As George Will noted in 2000, capital punishment in America “is a catalog of appalling miscarriages of justice, some of them nearly lethal. Their cumulative weight compels the conclusion that many innocent people are in prison, and innocent people have been executed.”
51 years ago, President John F. Kennedy made a very angry phone call.