Innocent Lives in the Balance
In a death penalty system, there is always a real and unacceptable risk of executing an innocent person.
Since 1973, 138 people nationwide have been exonerated from death row because new evidence came to light after they were sentenced to die for crimes they did not commit.
Even with the best intentions, police officers, lab technicians, prosecutors, judges, and witnesses can make mistakes or errors in judgment. In a capital case, even a small mistake can risk the execution of an innocent person.
In Kansas, a quarter of the death sentences handed down since 1994 have been overturned by the Kansas Supreme Court due to errors made during trials.
In recent years, Kansas has also seen a prominent felony exoneration for Eddie Lowery, who was mistakenly convicted of rape in 1982. In 2010, Lowery received a settlement of $7.5 million from Riley County and the City of Manhattan for his wrongful conviction and imprisonment.
To help clarify just how innocent people can be convicted and executed for crimes they never committed, KCADP has put together a series of profiles on innocence cases. In come of these cases, mistakes led to wrongful imprisonment. In other cases, men were wrongfully placed on death row, and some were even executed.
Please visit the “Voices of Innocence” section of our website to read about these cases.