February 28, 2000
Whereas Illinois Governor George Ryan has imposed a state-wide moratorium on the death penalty and has appointed a commission to study the frequency with which inmates sentenced to death have later been found innocent, and
Whereas there is every reason to believe that the potential innocence of those on death row is an issue throughout the 38 states which currently provide for a death penalty in certain cases, and
Whereas both supporters of the death penalty and opponents, such as the JCPA, share the desire to see that the understandable desire for punishment does not overshadow the impartial pursuit of justice,
THEREFORE, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs resolves to:
- Call upon the President and the governors of all other states that impose the death penalty to impose a federal and state-wide moratorium on the death penalty, and to appoint a commission to expeditiously study the frequency with which inmates sentenced to death have later been found to be not guilty and the factors which contribute to wrongful conviction and the imposition of the death penalty in inappropriate cases;
- Support legislation to enact appropriate safeguards (such as access to DNA and other potentially exculpatory material) to guard against the execution of those who are not guilty.