Professor James Liebman Proves Innocent Man Executed, Retired Supreme Court Justice Says
Former Justice John Paul Stevens Says Liebman's Book Demonstrates "Beyond a Shadow of a Doubt" that Texas Executed Innocent Man
New York, January 26, 2015—Columbia Law School Professor James S. Liebman has “demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt” that Texas executed an innocent man, retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens said Jan. 20 (57th minute).
In 2014, Liebman, the Simon H. Rifkind Professor of Law, and five former students published The Wrong Carlos, a book chronicling the investigation he and some of his students conducted into the criminal prosecution and execution of Carlos DeLuna. The investigation, previewed in an article in the Columbia Human Rights Law Review in 2012, identifies another Carlos, Carlos Hernandez, as the man who committed the crime for which DeLuna may was executed. Liebman and his former students have also produced a digital companion to the book that makes publicly available the most comprehensive set of primary records in any U.S. capital case.
Speaking to an audience at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, Stevens said Liebman’s book is “a sufficient argument against the death penalty.”
Here is the comment Stevens made about Liebman’s book in its entirety:
“[Liebman] has demonstrated I think beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is a Texas case in which they executed the wrong defendant, and that the person they executed did not in fact commit the crime for which he was punished. And I think it's a sufficient argument against the death penalty: society should not take the risk that that might happen again, because it's intolerable to think that our government, for really not very powerful reasons, runs the risk of executing innocent people."
Liebman, a former clerk for Stevens, is the author of numerous works on the death penalty and habeas corpus, including the co-authored “Broken System” studies: A Broken System: Error Rates in Capital Cases, 1973-1995 (2000) and A Broken System, Part II: Why There Is So Much Error in Capital Cases and What Can Be Done About It (2002).
Liebman joined the Columbia Law School faculty in 1985 and was assistant counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund from 1979 to 1985.