This man was convicted of second-degree murder, and spent 25 years in prison before his exoneration.

“It’s frightening how easy it is to convict an innocent person in this country,” Ms. Saifee said. “And it’s overwhelmingly difficult to release an innocent person.”

As I said, Andre Hatchett had been convicted of second-degree murder before being exonerated 25 years later.

But consider this, also. A large number of people have been exonerated from death row. Some of those have done 20, 25, 30 years on death row before being exonerated, and avoiding the executioners.

Now think about this: Fifty-one percent of California voters recently said they don’t want people sitting around death row that long. They want to kill them faster. It’s unclear whether this will ever happen: the law is already stymied by legal challenges. For now, it has been stayed, and proceedings are underway in the California Supreme Court. Certainly, if it somehow survives the legal challenges, it will face probably overwhelming practical challenges.

If only we could have killed these exonerees before they made it to exoneration 20, 25, and 30 years down the road. Imagine.

The truth is, there can be little doubt—among people with working brains—that we already have killed innocent people. But too few of California’s voters apparently have working brains.

We know that mistaken convictions happen—whether for pernicious or inadvertent reasons—and the post-conviction process is vitally important to ensuring these mistakes are revealed. Under the restrictions imposed by Proposition 66, many innocent defendants will be killed before they are able to present evidence of their actual innocence.

Proposition 66, which the voters gave the thumbs up so they could give those living on death row the thumbs down, aims to cut down the time for all appeals and legal challenges in death penalty cases to five years.

Five.

Wilbert Lee, exonerated 12 years after being sentenced to death.
Freddie Pitts, exonerated 12 years after being sentenced to death.
Lawyer Johnson, exonerated 11 years after being sentenced to death.
Joseph Green Brown, exonerated 13 years after being sentenced to death.
Perry Cobb, exonerated 8 years years after being sentenced to death.
Darby (Jesse) Tillis, exonerated 8 years after being sentenced to death.
Vernon McManus, exonerated 10 years after being sentenced to death.
Anthony Ray Peek, exonerated 9 years after being sentenced to death.
Robert Wallace, exonerated 7 years after being sentenced to death.
Randall Dale Adams, exonerated 12 years after being sentenced to death.
James Richardson, exonerated 21 years after being sentenced to death.
Clarence Brandley, exonerated 9 years after being sentenced to death.
John C. Skelton, exonerated 7 years after being sentenced to death.
Dale Johnston, exonerated 6 years after being sentenced to death.
Gary Nelson, exonerated 11 years after being sentenced to death.
Charles Smith, exonerated 8 years after being sentenced to death.
Jay C. Smith, exonerated 6 years after being sentenced to death.
Kirk Bloodsworth, exonerated 9 years after being sentenced to death.
Federico M. Macias, exonerated 9 years after being sentenced to death.
Gregory R. Wilhoit, exonerated 6 years after being sentenced to death.
James Robison, exonerated 16 years after being sentenced to death.
Muneer Deeb, exonerated 8 years after being sentenced to death.
Adolph Munson, exonerated 10 years after being sentenced to death.
Robert Charles Cruz, exonerated 14 years after being sentenced to death.
Rolando Cruz, exonerated 10 years after being sentenced to death.
Alejandro Hernandez, exonerated 10 years after being sentenced to death.
Joseph Burrows, exonerated 7 years after being sentenced to death.
Verneal Jimerson, exonerated 11 years after being sentenced to death.
Dennis Williams, exonerated 17 years after being sentenced to death.
Roberto Miranda, exonerated 14 years after being sentenced to death.
Troy Lee Jones, exonerated 14 years after being sentenced to death.
Carl Lawson, exonerated 6 years after being sentenced to death.
Ricardo Aldape Guerra, exonerated 15 years after being sentenced to death.
Benjamin Harris, exonerated 12 years after being sentenced to death.
Robert Hayes, exonerated 6 years after being sentenced to death.
Robert Lee Miller, Jr., exonerated 10 years after being sentenced to death.
Curtis Kyles, exonerated 14 years after being sentenced to death.
Anthony Porter, exonerated 16 years after being sentenced to death.
Steven Smith, exonerated 14 years after being sentenced to death.
Ronald Williamson, exonerated 11 years after being sentenced to death.
Ronald Jones, exonerated 10 years after being sentenced to death.
Clarence Dexter, Jr., exonerated 8 years after being sentenced to death.
Warren Douglas Manning, exonerated 10 years after being sentenced to death.
Steve Manning, exonerated 7 years after being sentenced to death.
Eric Clemmons, exonerated 13 years after being sentenced to death.
Joseph Nahume Green, exonerated 7 years after being sentenced to death.
Earl Washington, exonerated 16 years after being sentenced to death.
William Nieves, exonerated 6 years after being sentenced to death.
Frank Lee Smith, exonerated 14 years after being sentenced to death—but he died before he was exonerated.
Michael Graham, exonerated 13 years after being sentenced to death.
Albert Burrell, exonerated 13 years after being sentenced to death.
Oscar Lee Morris, exonerated 17 years after being sentenced to death.
Peter Limone, exonerated 33 years after being sentenced to death.
Gary Drinkard, exonerated 6 years after being sentenced to death.
Charles Fain, exonerated 18 years after being sentenced to death.
Juan Roberto Melendez, exonerated 18 years after being sentenced to death.
Ray Krone, exonerated 10 years after being sentenced to death.
Aaron Peterson, exonerated 17 years after being sentenced to death.
Madison Hobley, exonerated 16 years after being sentenced to death.
Leroy Orange, exonerated 19 years after being sentenced to death.
Stanley Howard, exonerated 16 years after being sentenced to death.
Rudolph Holton, exonerated 16 years after being sentenced to death.
Wesley Quick, exonerated 6 years after being sentenced to death.
John Thompson, exonerated 18 years after being sentenced to death.
Timothy Howard, exonerated 26 years after being sentenced to death.
Gary Lamar James, exonerated 26 years after being sentenced to death.
Joseph Amrine, exonerated 17 years after being sentenced to death.
Nicholas Yarris, exonerated 21 years after being sentenced to death.
Alan Gell, exonerated 6 years years after being sentenced to death.
Gordon Steidl, exonerated 17 years after being sentenced to death.
Laurence Adams, exonerated 30 years after being sentenced to death.
Dan L. Bright, exonerated 8 years after being sentenced to death.
Ernest Ray Willis, exonerated 17 years after being sentenced to death.
Derrick Jamison, exonerated 20 years after being sentenced to death.
Harold Wilson, exonerated 16 years after being sentenced to death.
Curtis McCarty, exonerated 21 years after being sentenced to death.
Michael McCormick, exonerated 20 years after being sentenced to death.
Jonathon Hoffman, exonerated 12 years after being sentenced to death.
Kennedy Brewer, exonerated 13 years after being sentenced to death.
Glen Chapman, exonerated 14 years after being sentenced to death.
Levon Jones, exonerated 15 years after being sentenced to death.
Michael Blaire, exonerated 14 years after being sentenced to death.
Nathson Fields, exonerated 23 years after being sentenced to death.
Paul House, exonerated 23 years after being sentenced to death.
Daniel Wade Moore, exonerated 7 years after being sentenced to death.
Ronald Kitchen, exonerated 21 years after being sentenced to death.
Michael Toney, exonerated 10 years after being sentenced to death.
Yancy Douglas, exonerated 14 years after being sentenced to death.
Paris Powell, exonerated 12 years after being sentenced to death.
Robert Springsteen, exonerated 8 years after being sentenced to death.
Anthony Graves, exonerated 16 years after being sentenced to death.
Gussie Vann, exonerated 17 years after being sentenced to death.
Joe D’Ambrosio, exonerated 23 years after being sentenced to death.
Damon Thibodeaux, exonerated 15 years after being sentenced to death.
Seth Penalver, exonerated 13 years after being sentenced to death.
Reginald Griffin, exonerated 30 years after being sentenced to death.
Glenn Ford, exonerated 30 years after being sentenced to death.
Henry McCollum, exonerated 30 years after being sentenced to death.
Leon Brown, exonerated 30 years after being sentenced to death.
Ricky Jackson, exonerated 39 years after being sentenced to death.
Wiley Bridgeman, exonerated 39 years after being sentenced to death.
Kwame Ajamu, exonerated 39 years after being sentenced to death.
Debra Mike, exonerated 25 years after being sentenced to death.
Anthony Hinton, exonerated 30 years after being sentenced to death.
Willie Manning, exonerated 19 years after being sentenced to death.
Alfred Brown, exonerated 10 years after being sentenced to death.
Lawrence William Lee, exonerated 28 years after being sentenced to death.

In addition, another ten people were exonerated at 5 years. Would their exonerations have happened before their appeals and legal challenges were exhausted? Or just after? I don’t know. I do know this is a hell of a lot of exonerations from death row who would not be here, if they were in a post-Prop-66 California.

Still think we haven’t executed any innocent people? Can you imagine how it would feel to be one of those innocent people?

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