I am a conservative mom from Orange County. I used to believe in the death penalty, until my son Arthur was sentenced to prison for a crime he did not commit. Ten years later he was murdered.
I still oppose the death penalty.
When Arthur was 16 he was wrongly convicted of multiple robberies as a result of mistaken eyewitness identification and sentenced to 12 years in prison. My son spent three years in that horrible place, while I fought to prove his innocence. In 2000, we won and Arthur got to come home. I remember grabbing Arthur from the guards and running out of the building. As we made our way through the crowd of media, I told Arthur, “Don’t look back, because we’re never coming back here.”
The experience changed both of our lives. It made me realize that the criminal justice system makes mistakes – like the one that stole three years of Arthur's young life. But with the death penalty there is no room to correct those mistakes. I came to realize that as long as we have the death penalty in California, we run the risk of executing an innocent person like my son.