“Almost none would get the death penalty. For some, the charges would be dropped,” wrote John Grisham, a best-selling author and former defense lawyer who now is on the board of the Innocence Project of New York.
“The death penalty is dying, not because of the courage of lawmakers or judges, but because of the compassion shown by jurors who are fully informed in trials that are fair.” Grisham noted in an Oct. 12 op-ed piece for the newspaper. “Jurors are easier to convince that life without parole is harsh enough.”
Grisham summarized five capital cases between 1993 and 1997 that he said contained egregious unconstitutional infractions.
The infractions included a capital defense attorney practicing under the influence, ineffective assistance of counsel, prosecutorial misconduct, misuse of the press, and a defendant who should have been deemed incompetent/insane.
Most all of the 141 are Black and nearly all of them are destitute.
Grisham lauded the demise of the death penalty, when he stated how attitudes of the public are changing due to the high-profile DNA exonerations, which have made jurors and the public wary of investigative and procedural strategies used by law enforcement and district attorneys.
Grisham maintained most of the prisoners on Death Row did not receive a fair trial.
His books have sold in the billions. Some of his books have been turned into movies that include stars such as Denzel Washington, Tom Cruise, Samuel L. Jackson, Sandra Bullock, and Matthew McConaughey.