|Almost exactly 20 years ago, I became the first death row prisoner in the United States to clear my name through DNA evidence.
The crime for which I was convicted was the brutal rape and murder of a 9-year-old girl named Dawn Hamilton.
My community in Maryland was devastated and needed someone to blame, so the district attorney’s office built a capital case against me based on a few flimsy pieces of so-called evidence.
I didn’t look much like the culprit they described, and neither did the real killer, who was identified through the very DNA evidence that saved me.
I spent nine years in prison wondering if I’d be executed for a crime I did not commit. After my release, it wasn’t easy to piece back together a normal life.
But a turning point came when I saw how sharing the story of my innocence influenced the way others viewed the death penalty. I realized then that the best way to move forward would be to help prevent what happened to me from ever happening to anyone else.
Since the death penalty was reinstated in the United States in 1976, 142 of us have been exonerated from death row. That’s 142 innocent people who were saved, some at the last minute. Today, I work alongside many of those exonerated men and women at Witness to Innocence, where we share our stories with the world to advocate against the death penalty.
Thankfully, the death penalty is outlawed in 18 states. The sixth state in six years to abolish capital punishment is my home state of Maryland, the state that almost executed me.
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2010—Federal Court Holds DOMA Unconstitutional:
|In a pair of opinions issued this afternoon (Gill, Commonwealth), The Hon. Joseph L. Tauro agreed with Gill and the Commonwealth [of Massachusetts] and held Section 3 of DOMA -- the part forbidding federal benefits to same-sex couples -- to be unconstitutional.
DOMA fails to pass constitutional muster even under the highly deferential rational basis test. As set forth in detail below, this court is convinced that "there exists no fairly conceivable set of facts that could ground a rational relationship" between DOMA and a legitimate government objective. DOMA, therefore, violates core constitutional principles of equal protection.
On today's Kagro in the Morning show, we're back and scrambling to catch up! But we still head down the unexpected side alleys that make the show... interesting. Greg Dworkin joined in for the discussion of developments in Egypt, the airliner crash, Eliot Spitzer's reentry to electoral politics, Wimbledon, insurers rejecting the "arm the teachers" plan and more. Throw in a little Snowden/NSA and Evo Morales chatter. Then Armando called in to elicit some vacation talk, which led to explorations of the history (and currency, so to speak) of piracy, and lifestyle gaps (both then and now) between the 99% and the 1%. Wait, what? Well, you'll just have to listen in to follow along.