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John H Whitehead Professor Roth English 128 Whitehead 1 1 December 1999 A Moratorium on The Death Penalty Should Be Enacted In Illinois Due to the recent releases of newly exonerated Death Row inmates individuals and organizations are calling for a moratorium- a cooling off period for state executions The cases of just a few inmates makes it apparent that this would be a necessary step to save innocent lives After 17 years in prison Illinois Death Row inmate Anthony Porter was released from jail after a judge threw out his murder conviction following the introduction of new evidence This reversal of fortune came just two days before Porter was to be executed As reported in USA Today Porters release was the result of investigative research as conducted by a Northwestern University professor and students The evidence gathered suggested that Porter had been wrongly convicted Were these new revelations and the subsequent release of Porter a lucky break or a freak occurrence Not likely reports DeWayne Wickham also of USA Today He points out that since the reinstatement of the death penalty in the United States in 1976 of those sentenced to death 490 people have been executed while 76 have been freed from Death Row This calculates into one innocent person being released from Death Row for every six individuals that were executed This figure correlates with the 1996 US Department of Justice report that indicates that over a 7-year period beginning in 1989 when DNA evidence in various cases was tested 26 of primary suspects were exonerated This has led some to conclude that a similar percentage of inmates presently serving time behind
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