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Furman v. Georgia Anniversary

"I believe that the following facts would serve to convince even the most hesitant of citizens to condemn death as a sanction...there is evidence that innocent people have been executed before their innocence can be proved." - Thurgood Marhsall

That was written on June 29, 1972 and it is still true today. On July 29, 1972, the Supreme Court temporarily struck down the death penalty in the United States, finding its application to be unconstitutional in Furman v. Georgia.

Justice Thurgood Marshall wrote in his concurring opinion "Our 'beyond a reasonable doubt' burden of proof in criminal cases is intended to protect the innocent, but we know it is not fool-proof. Various studies have shown that people whose innocence is later convincingly established are convicted and sentenced to death. Proving one's innocence after a jury finding of guilt is almost impossible. ...If an innocent man has been found guilty, he must then depend on the good faith of the prosecutor's office to help him establish his innocence. There is evidence, however, that prosecutors do not welcome the idea of having convictions, which they labored hard to secure, overturned, and that their cooperation is highly unlikely."


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