Today, January 17th, 18 death penalty protesters were arrested for civil disobedience outside of the Supreme Court for protesting the date that marks “the first execution after the Supreme Court allowed the death penalty to resume in 1977.” 
Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is a long-standing controversial punishment in which the state puts people to death for being convicted of committing certain crimes.
On January 11, 2017, Texas carried out the first execution of an inmate on death row of the year.  According to the Death Penalty Information Center, 31 states have the death penalty, 19 states do not practice capital punishment, and 4 states have the death penalty with Gubernatorial Moratoria.  In the year 2017, 27 inmates are scheduled for execution. (Some executions are listed as “stayed,” “reprieve granted,” and or “rescheduled.”
(Read more about the death penalty and criminal justice in America here.)
“What’s so offensive to me as a criminal defense lawyer,” says founding attorney of 1.800.NoCuffs Darren Kavinoky, “is that we know the criminal justice system makes mistakes, yet we still insist on allowing for a punishment that leaves zero margin for error.”
Kavinoky argues, “There are now nearly 2,000 documented exonerations of people who were factually innocent. Collectively, this group served over 10,000 years of wrongfully served prison years, and that doesn’t begin to speak to those who have been wrongfully executed. In each one of the cases involving the exonerated, all of the supposed safeguards of the legal system broke down, from law enforcement to prosecutors, judges, and juries (and sadly, sometimes defense attorneys too). Each one of these groups is charged with doing justice, not merely seeking convictions.”
“Amplifying the mistake is that while the wrong person sat in jail or prison, the real wrongdoer was left to roam the streets, free to re-offend and commit new crimes,” says Kavinoky. He adds, “Arresting people for protesting this system is like putting out a fire with gasoline; it’s beyond time for people to voice their concerns about the integrity of the criminal justice system.”
1. Ryan Lovelace. January 17, 2017. Washington Examiner. “Death penalty protesters arrested outside Supreme Court.” Retrieved via http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/death-penalty-protesters-arrested-outside-supreme-court/article/2612066#.WH5urIhXTR4.twitter.
2. AP. January 17, 2017. Seattle Times. “Anti-death penalty protesters arrested outside Supreme Court.” Retrieved via http://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/nation-politics/anti-death-penalty-protesters-arrested-outside-supreme-court/.
3. Retrieved on January 17, 2017 via http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/states-and-without-death-penalty.
4. AP. January 11, 2017. Fox News. “Texas carries out first US execution of 2017” Retrieved via http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/01/11/texas-carries-out-first-us-execution-2017.html.