Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Former State Supreme Court Justice Regrets Some Decisions - Says there are innocent people on death row

Former State Supreme Court Justice Oliver Diaz said his first vote on the state’s high court was to “kill an innocent man.”

Kennedy Brewer hugs family members after DNA evidence set him free.

Diaz said he voted to keep Kennedy Brewer on Mississippi’s death row. Brewer was convicted of the 1992 murder and rape of his ex-girlfriend's daughter. He spent 10 years on death row before DNA evidence set him free.

“Reflecting on my votes at the Supreme Court, I realized that there is just so much error involved in these cases that it's not worth carrying out the death penalty,” Diaz said. “We have innocent people in Mississippi who have been sitting on death row for years.”

Now Diaz works with the Innocence Project to free those who are wrongfully convicted. The group also lobbies the state Legislature, trying to change the death penalty laws. He also works as a private attorney and as the Simpson County Youth Court prosecutor.

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