They Got the Wrong Man

And in Texas, no less.  Michael Morton was convicted of killing his wife on shoddy evidence that was enough for a jury that didn’t do their homework.  And, 25 years after his 1988 conviction, the state of Texas admitted that they had the wrong guy.  Whoops.  DNA evidence conclusively proved that Morton wasn’t the killer.

So, it took a while, but the system worked.  Badly, and inefficiently, but it worked.  Now, let’s think about this in a broader context.  Here’s a guy who was convicted of killing his wife, a crime offensive and heinous by any standard.  And in this particular jurisdiction, the death penalty could have been imposed.  But it wasn’t, and thank God it wasn’t.  Because Morton was innocent.  Had Morton been executed and the evidence emerged after the fact, justice would have gone horribly, horribly awry.  In fact, had he been executed, the state would have, in essence, murdered an innocent man.

I don’t like the death penalty.  It’s irrevocable.  And that’s my main problem with it.  Yes, I think that there are certain crimes that warrant it, but the very fact that there are many, many, many cases in which we are not one hundred per cent certain means that in many instances, we could potentially execute the wrong person.  And executing the wrong person is murder, in and of itself.

I’m proud to be from Michigan for many reasons.  But one of them is that Michigan never has had the death penalty.  It’s rare that I invoke my personal faith, but this is one instance in which I will.  I think there’s the logical reasons that the death penalty shouldn’t be legal, but there’s another side of me that thinks, frankly, it’s God’s decision as to when a life should end.  It isn’t man’s choice, but that of the Almighty.  So, I think it’s bad in legal terms, I think it’s bad politically, and frankly, I think that we should yield unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, and leave that to God which is God’s.  Determining that someone ought to die is not a decision for the court of humanity.  It’s for the court of God to decide.

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