Death Row Exoneree Explains Why Capital Punishment Will Never Work


Death Row Exoneree Explains Why Capital Punishment Will Never Work

Kirk Bloodsworth spent eight years in prison — including two on death row — for a murder and rape he did not commit before becoming the first person to be exonerated from death row through postconviction DNA testing. In Sunday’s edition of the

New York Times

, Bloodsworth took to the paper’s Opinion Pages’ Room for Debate column to explain why capital punishment will never work.


Having been wrongfully convicted based largely on eyewitness misidentification and spending time on death row, Bloodsworth knows firsthand that it’s possible to execute an innocent man. He writes: “If you want to know if capital punishment is cruel and unusual, ask

Carlos DeLuna

, Ruben Cantu or Cameron Todd Willingham. Oh, that’s right. You can’t ask those guys. They were executed even though they were probably innocent.”



who is among 18 death row prisoners that have been proven innocent and exonerated by DNA testing

in the United States, also points out the shift the country has been making regarding capital punishment, noting that six states have ended the practice in the past six years. According to Bloodsworth, the Death Penalty Information Center reports that the number of death sentences and executions has declined drastically since the 1990s.


“Next time the U.S. Supreme Court considers whether the death penalty is constitutional, the justices will have to take notice of where the country is heading. If it can happen to me, it could happen to you,” writes Bloodsworth.


Read the

full opinion piece



More on Bloodsworth’s case


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