By Lee Kovarsky
Fighting the death penalty should not hinge on proving that innocent people have been sentenced to die.
As the attention paid to systemic failure grows, so too does the apparent need to posthumously exonerate a capital convict. It is now fair to say that a posthumous exoneration is the pièce de résistance of death penalty opposition. But ardent defenders of capital punishment appear comfortable to defend on this territory. Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in a 2005 Supreme Court opinion that there is not “a single case — not one — in which it is clear that a person was executed for a crime he did not commit.” For at least two reasons I discuss below, we must be careful not to overstate the importance of posthumous exoneration.