The new CNN original series, Death Row Stories, produced by Alex Gibney and Robert Redford and narrated by Susan Sarandon, premieres this Sunday evening.
CNN has posted, "Death row lawyer: 'If I throw in the towel, a client dies'," by Emanuella Grinberg . It focuses on Edward Lee Elmore, whose case will be profiled Sunday. Here's the beginning:
By the time Edward Lee Elmore won his freedom at age 53, he had spent 30 years -- most of them on death row -- imprisoned in South Carolina for a crime he says he did not commit.
Law enforcement planted evidence and prosecutors manipulated facts to cast Elmore as the only suspect in the 1982 murder of 75-year-old Dorothy Edwards, his lawyers claim.
Even with seemingly overwhelming evidence in Elmore's favor, it took nearly two decades to win his release, in what an appeals court called "one of those exceptional cases of 'extreme malfunctions in the state criminal justice systems.' "
His experience raises nearly every issue that shapes America's capital punishment debate: DNA testing, mental retardation, a jailhouse snitch, incompetent defense lawyers, prosecutorial misconduct and "a strong claim of innocence," said author Raymond Bonner, who wrote about the case in "Anatomy of Injustice: A Murder Case Gone Wrong."
In other words, a prime example of when "innocence is not enough," Bonner said.
Elmore would probably still be on death row if not for Diana Holt, who began investigating his claims of innocence in 1993.
CNN also posts an opinion column by Kirk Bloodsworth, "I was on death row, and I was innocent."
Edward Lee Elmore's story, which is the focus of the first episode of CNN's documentary series, "Death Row Stories," shows that the capital punishment system does not always get it right. Like Edward, I know this first-hand.
I was the first person in the United States to be exonerated from death row because of DNA testing.
In 1984, I was 23 years old, newly married and living in Cambridge, Maryland. I had just served four years in the Marine Corps. I had never been arrested. This all changed on August 9, 1984, when the police knocked on my door at 3 a.m. and arrested me for the murder of 9-year-old Dawn Hamilton.
In a matter of days I became the most hated man in Maryland.