The Washington Post's editorial page has generally been better on criminal law issues than, e.g., the New York Times. Regrettably, today we see this editorial on the death penalty indicating a move in the wrong direction. The problem is not an opinion I disagree with. That is par for the course. The problem is misleading assertions of fact made in the course of supporting that opinion. The WaPo, like everyone else, is entitled to its own opinion but not its own facts, as the saying goes. The editorial says, "Since 1973, some 130 death row inmates have been exonerated, largely through the use of DNA evidence." Did they do any fact-checking at all? I posted the following comment on their site:
That statement is stunningly ignorant. DPIC only claims DNA was "involved" in 18 of the cases only their list, not "largely" in any sense of the word.
More importantly, that list is not a list of people "exonerated" as most people understand that term -- shown not to have committed the crime. All that is required to get on the list is to have the conviction reversed and no new conviction made on retrial. In some cases on the list, murderers have gotten away with murder because essential evidence has been suppressed or is no longer available (e.g., because an essential witness is dead).
Timothy Hennis is still on the list. A subsequent advance in DNA technology proved beyond serious question that he really committed the murder.
The writer of this editorial has apparently not read the book by Charles Lane of your own staff. I recommend that everyone at the Post read it before writing anything on the death penalty.