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October 02, 2007


Obama seems to be refering to people who were sentenced to death, but were later released after it was conclusively proven that they were innocent.

I think Obama misspoke and should have said that 13 on Illinois death row were later found to be innocent. I'm not aware either of a proven case of innocence after an execution.

Johnny has it right, Obama's referring to the 13 people on Illinois death row who were exonerated that lead George Ryan to place a moratorium on the death penalty in 2000.

Obama's prepared remarks actually read: "When I was a state Senator in Illinois, we had a death penalty system that had sent thirteen innocent people to death row."

Well, I can tell you that, based on the evidentiary rules of the Texas judicial system, Cameron Todd Willingham (who was executed in 2003) should never have gone to trial. Willingham was convicted of killing his kids in an arson, but the evidence doesn't actually indicate an arson was committed, and under Texas law all fires are presumed accidental until proven otherwise (the problem is that Willingham was convicted a year before new standards for fire investigation were published, though he was executed well after the errors in his case were known).

So, assuming innocence until proven guilty, Willingham was an innocent man put to death.

I wasn't aware this was about the Texas record. I was under the impression that - yep, I'm sure of it now - Obama was talking about Illinois. Thirteen people in particular, in Illinois.

And from what I'm reading, not one of them was sent to his death. Not a single one. Is that right?

Ya know, for a man whom the press once called "Mister Articulate", he sure does make a lot of misstatements.

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