In bittersweet news, on Wednesday, 17 December 2014, Judge Carmen Tevis Mullen overturned the conviction of George Junius Stinney, Jr. who was executed by the state of South Carolina in 1944. At 14 years old, George Stinney Jr. was the youngest person ever executed in the United States in the 20th century. Despite vacating his conviction, there is no way for the state to give George Stinney Jr. life again. There is no way for the state to make up for the tremendous loss of his life. George Stinney Jr. would be 84 today. He might have been a husband, a father, a grandfather and a great grandfather. His execution was an execution of generations.
As this and other recent exonerations illustrate, the U.S. justice system has proven that it is fallible. It is riddled with racism, prejudice, classism and sexism. It far too often pursues convenience rather than justice thus guaranteeing arbitrariness. By executing people, the state undermines any claim to a belief in sanctity of life; it arguably does more damage to the endurance of peace and the well-being of humanity than one person, acting outside the power of the state, ever could do or ever has done in history.
Enough is enough. The time is now to abolish the death penalty.
Part of our tribute and debt to George Stinney Jr. is sharing his story. Below we off a few articles that give additional details and context to his case:
Sound Potraits [6/30/2004]: George Stinney, Youngest Executed (AUDIO)
The Grio [9/28/2011]: Was one of the youngest ever executed innocent?
NPR [10/3/2011]: Racism Fueled Rush To Judgment Against Teen?
The Grio [10/4/2011]: Brother of 14-year-old execution victim speaks out (VIDEO)
South Carolina Now [1/13/14]: Lawyers for SC teen executed in 1944 have new info
NY Daily News [1/22/14]: South Carolina family hopes to reopen case against 14-year-old boy executed in 1944
Huffington Post [1/23/14]: George Stinney Gets Day In Court 70 Years After Teen Was Executed
The Guardian [3/22/14]: George Stinney was executed at 14. Can his family now clear his name?
WLTX. 19: [6/13/14] George Stinney, Jr. Supporters Erect Headstone
The Augusta Chronicle [9/28/13]: Justice still sought in 1944 execution of 14-year-old George Stinney Jr.
The Harvard Crimson [10/20/14]: The Death Penalty: Justice in Peril
Washington Post [12/18/14]: It took 10 minutes to convict 14-year-old George Stinney Jr. It took 70 years after his execution to exonerate him.
While we are not able to bring George Stinney Jr. back to life physically, we must guarantee that his story is told – shouted from the rooftops if necessary – so that the greatest legacy he may ultimately leave behind will be the abolition of the death penalty in America.
NCADP has created the 90 Million Strong Campaign to unite the voices of those who believe the death penalty is wrong. We need to demonstrate that the broad public support to end this practice is already here in America, and 90 million people speaking up can make a difference.