"Hope and concern on death penalty, exonerations," is the title of the editorial in today's Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Two reports issued this week offer news that's both sobering and encouraging about crime and punishment in America, especially regarding the justice system's ultimate penalty and the continuing trend of righting wrongs through exoneration.
A study by the Death Penalty Information Center shows that numbers of both capital sentences and executions are down significantly. Meanwhile, the Innocence Network released reports on 22 more people -- including one in Tarrant County -- who have been exonerated of the crimes for which they were convicted.
It's troubling that Texas leads the nation in both categories.
While findings in the reports speak to an evolving and improving system of justice, the statistics show that making the criminal justice system truly just must be an ongoing process.
Efforts to make convictions more reliable resulted last legislative session in a law to improve eyewitness identification evidence. For 2013, Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, has pre-filed SB 87, to require that police electronically record interrogations in cases including murder, kidnapping, human trafficking and sexual assault. Texas must keep trying to perfect justice.
The editorial also reference this month's report from the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty and its annual report on Texas capital punishment developments in 2012.
Earlier coverage of SB 87 begins at the link.
Related posts are in the report index.