I have tried exceptionally hard this election season to avoid making a political post on the blog or my Facebook Page. But I cannot be quiet about this issue.
State Question 776
Oklahoma has 7 state questions on the ballot this year. State Question 776 involves the death penalty. Among other things, the proposed constitutional amendment declares that capital punishment – the state killing someone because they committed a crime – is not cruel and unusual punishment.
Perhaps it could be argued at a very high level that the actual death is not cruel and unusual. But the imposition of the punishment certainly is. Per-capita, Oklahoma kills more people in the name of justice than Texas does.
Consider Joyce Gilchrist, a former forensic chemist for the Oklahoma City Police Department. Her testimony helped convict Michael Blair of murder, based on hairs found near the victim’s body and in his car. Later analysis showed the hairs didn’t belong to the victim or to Blair.
Curtis Edward McCarty spent 19 years on death row in Oklahoma for a 1992 murder he didn’t commit. Gilchrist’s testimony was key in that case as well. It was also wrong.
Gilchrist also put Jeffrey Pierce in prison for a sexual assault he didn’t commit. He served 15 years out of a 65-year-sentence.
Gilchrist was fired due to “flawed casework analysis” and “laboratory mismanagement.” Her flawed or falsified testimony put 23 people on death row. 11 of them were executed. It’s not unlikely that some of them were innocent. She may have lied in over 1,700 cases.
Think long and hard about that. That’s not 1,700 file folders. or names on a list. That’s 1,700 people. 1,700 families.
And in every case where someone was wrongfully convicted – where the wrong person went to prison – the person who belonged behind bars was still free, roaming the streets and committing other crimes.
Gilchrist probably helped “Cowboy Bob” Macy earn his dubious distinction of being the number 2 deadliest prosecutor in the country. In his 21 years as Oklahoma County’s District Attorney, he sent 54 people to death row. Half of those cases were overturned.
Since 1993 in Oklahoma, 7 people have been exonerated from death row, out of 32 total exonerations.
The state was prepared to kill 7 innocent people.
Anti-abortion people are fond of saying one innocent baby’s death is too many.
How many innocent adult deaths are too many?
If we jail the wrong person, we can let them out, throw some money at them, and feel like we did the right thing.
How do we fix it if the state kills the wrong person?
If you’ve ever posted #AllLivesMatter, vote No on State Question 776.
Do you claim to be pro-life? Vote No on State Question 776.
If you’re a human being who wants justice, vote No on State Question 776.
Don’t entrench the death penalty any more deeply in our constitution.
Vote NO on State Question 776.