Conclusion

The definitive nature of the death penalty requires the highest standards of due process and fairness. The findings of this report suggest that while such standards exist in law, they do not exist in practice. Death penalty states, through the police, the state prosecutors’ offices, court-appointed defense attorneys, and the judicial system, routinely fail to exercise necessary diligence to ensure the protection of the rights of the accused. Federal courts, which have been limited by the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, fail to exercise the necessary oversight to provide remedies for rights violations in death penalty cases. As such, state governments, with the acquiescence of the federal government, are executing people under the guise of due process and fair trials, despite compelling evidence of innocence.