Currently under consideration by the Iowa Republican controlled legislature in this winter of 2019 is the reinstatement of the death penalty. The General Assembly abolished the death penalty in 1965 under the leadership of Governor Harold Hughes. Across the nation there are currently 30 states, which still allow for it and 20 who do not.

In my view there are many reasons to not reinstate it, but one of the most compelling reasons is statistics put out by the Death Penalty Information Center. Due to the increasing use of DNA, since 1992 more then 20 death row inmates have been exonerated and released who could have been killed. The problem is that DNA is many times not available; leaving one to wonder how many people various state governments needlessly have put to death. The Center has also published a list of 10 individuals who were executed, but possibly innocent. In addition another 39 were executed in the face of evidence of innocence or serious doubt about the guilt of the person.

 

Recently, Simi Valley California released an inmate who had spent 39 years behind bars because he was convicted of killing a woman and her child, which after all that time his innocence was proven with DNA testing. That error cost Simi Valley 21 million dollars plus 39 years of a man’s life. Think about it if he had been killed by the state. In my mind executing one individual by mistake would be sufficient to outlaw the death penalty in states that have it. Iowa should not go back

I would hope enough legislatures come to their senses and if not hopefully the Governor will.