Hand to Hand, All Life Is Precious
Issues NewsMailing ListGuestbook JoinJoinWritingsCraftsPenpalsDeath Row Journal ContactsHome
table of contents

A Review of the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996
by Jerry Hogue #660

The Lamp of Hope Goes Internet
by Les Bower #764

What Price We Pay
by David Goff #999015

by Windell Broussard #999064

Texas Prisoners Labor Union

Problems in TDCJ-ID

Capital Punishment and Thus Saith the Lord
by Rev. Joe E. Blackmon, father of Don Blackman

Texas Death Row Inmates Speaking Out on the Internet

You Now Have a Place to File Your Complaints and Problems Against Any Part or Operation With and In TDCJ-ID

Special Thanks Are Due!

We Couldn't Have Done It Without You

Murder Victims' Families Are Not Served by Another Death
by Pat Bane

Gone Too Soon
by James E. Session

Books That Need to be Checked Out

Death Row Activities and Events

ATTENTION! National Coalition Against the Death Penalty Thank You! Thank You!


published by The Lamp of Hope Project

Editor: Billy G. Hughes, Jr. CPL #556
Asst. Editor: Billy Nelson #999017

Sub Menu
Death Row Journal

from David Goff's article:
     "... a long list of men and women in America who were convicted of crimes they did not commit. ..."

          — David Goff #999015

One man walks out of prison after 17 years.

He was not paroled. He did not escape.

But after almost two decades, the charges against him were dropped.

What makes this event of more interest is the fact that his home away from home for those 17 years was a cell on Texas' Death Row.

Ricardo Adape Guerra maintained for 17 years that he did not commit the crime of the murder of a police officer, for which he was convicted.

Apparently many did not believe him.

That was until almost 12 years had passed, when evidence of his innocence began to catch the attention of those who genuinely cared about justice.

Guerra joins a long list of men and women in America who were convicted of crimes they did not commit and who later were released due to questions of their actual guilt.

Currently over 19 individuals across America on death row are on the verge of joining Guerra in obtaining their freedom and an estimated 200 non-capital sentenced individuals; convicted of serious crimes, will be exonerated within the next year.

Sadly, the system of justice has shifted to the place where it is fashionable to convict the innocent as well as the guilty, in fear that the guilty may go free.
This is totally contrary to the traditional concept of justice in America. A concept that holds "it is more just that ten guilty men go free than for one innocent man to be convicted".

Yes, the voice of the victim cries loudly and should be heard, but in America's rush to "feel their pain", the rights of all are being circumvented.

One must remember that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were written in order to protect the individual rights of America's citizens from a government that could and, eventually at times, would run amok.

The circumvention of the individual's rights has historically been shown to victimize society as a whole.

In the strong push to expand the power of the State, the rights of the individual have become insignificant.

While the issue of the death penalty becomes the rallying cry for all who wish to control crime, get elected, or attempt to soothe the pain of victimization; it is hard to see justice in the laws passed.

If prisoners themselves speak testaments to the societies in which they are housed, then no doubt a nation's ultimate punishment and its administration must define the hearts and minds of its leaders.

One senator stated that the conviction and execution of an innocent individual is the price that we all pay to live in a democratic society.

This logic seems to have been embraced by a number of people in power, yet it is faulty reasoning.

If democracy does not set the corner stones of its foundation as truth, justice, freedom, and fairness, then it is not worthy of human inclusion within any society.

It would be better that a totalitarian system be allowed to control the masses openly, than that a system of government continue to hide behind the guise of true freedom.

One could theorize that the death penalty has cost more innocent lives than any war fought, on any shore, by any nation.

For if history in the end records only one innocent man or woman executed under the color of the State, then that one death amounts to millions, even billions. It is simply a mistake for a nation to judicially, indifferently, and casually take the life of a potentially innocent person. It is wrong.

Therefore, if this must be the price to live in a democracy, as defined by America's leaders, then the price is too high.

What manner of human being, with a clear conscience, would even consider to proclaim or embrace such an absurd and corrupt view of democracy?

Such beliefs echo those of Mussolini and Stalin, "what is one life compared to the lives of many". This was not a question, but their concept of the systems of government under which the people would be subjected.

Randle Adams, Maurice Deebs, Clarence Brandley, Ricardo Guerra, and Kerry Cook are but a few names of individuals who within the last ten to twelve years have escaped one of the most notorious systems of capital punishment since reinstatement of the death penalty.

Each were convicted and sentenced to death.

Each came within hours of their execution, and each was innocent.

Common reasoning would dictate that quite a number of individuals were innocent yet executed before exoneration, and, no doubt, countless may even now sit on death row, who are innocent.

If this is what democracy requires, then the price "must be" too high for those committed to truth, justice, freedom, and the concept of fairness. The death penalty must end.

For in a society such as America, that is politically, economically, socially, and racially motivated, the potential for error is far too great and the price too high.


David Goff is a member of the Board of Directors of the Lamp of Hope.


table of contents
Top of Page
Lamp of Hope