Sunday, November 27, 2011

Death Penalty on Trial

Four cases dramatically illustrate the failings that have made many question the legitimacy of capital punishment.

Almost 100 death row inmates have been exonerated and released in the last few years. Clearly, our judicial system--long trumpeted as the best in the world--has major failings. But what can be done to repair them?
THE DEATH PENALTY ON TRIAL tackles this difficult questions by examining four cases, each illustrative of a critical weakness in the system. John Lee Guy was sentenced to die because he received incompetent defense from an alcoholic attorney who was using cocaine during his trial. Tommy Ziegler's trial was presided over by a judge who had previously opposed Ziegler's defense team, and when the jury recommended life imprisonment, the judge overruled them and sentenced Ziegler to die. Police tortured Leroy Orange for over twelve hours before he finally confessed to multiple homicides. And Charles Munsey died of cancer in jail before it was discovered that the district attorney who prosecuted his case knew that a key witness was lying.

This important, feature-length episode of INVESTIGATIVE REPORTS marks the 10th anniversary of the series, and takes an unflinching look at the cost of not fixing a system that is clearly damaged. Hosted by Bill Kurtis.

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