If anyone has a reason to hold a major grudge in life, it's Glenn Ford. The 64-year-old Louisiana man was sentenced to death for first-degree murder 30 years ago, leaving his two sons to be raised without a father when they were just babies. After spending time as one of the longest-serving death row prisoners in the country, he was recently found innocent for the 1984 crime and has been released. He'll now be able to reunite with his adult sons -- and his grandchildren. But this debacle should make us think twice about whether the death penalty is an appropriate punishment.
Ford, who is an African American, was found guilty by an all-white jury for the murder of Isadore Rozeman, who was a jeweler and watchmaker. The inmate had occasionally worked as a gardener for Rozeman and reportedly went to see if he had any work for him on the day the jeweler was murdered. According to Ford, a friend asked him to sell a gun and some jewelry for him, which was found to be similar to jewels sold by Rozeman. Ford pawned the jewelry, but claimed he wasn't at the shop at the time the man was killed.
But the evidence against Ford was always fuzzy. And even after a woman, who claimed Ford was involved in the shooting, admitted in court that she had lied about it, the man was still sentenced to death.
I have to be honest -- my position on the death penalty has always been inconsistent. If I hear about a person who has been accused of abusing and killing a child, my emotions immediately take over and my only thought is: burn him at the stake, NOW. But what if there are more Glenn Fords out there than we think? I'm not thoroughly convinced it's our place as mere mortals who can make mistakes and be led by our feelings and biases to play god and condemn someone to death.
Ford and his children lost out on years where they could have been building a life together. Who knows how his sons' lives would be different today if they had grown up with their father? Even if we make one mistake -- if one innocent person dies because he is sentenced to death -- that's one life too many.
What are your thoughts on the death penalty and the mistake made in Ford's case?
Image via Julie Lyn/Flickr