A&E television host and well-known investigative journalist Bill Kurtis chronicles his journey from death penalty supporter to capital punishment opponent in his newly released book, The Death Penalty on Trial: Crisis in American Justice. In an interview with the Kansas City Star, Kurtis stated, “Look, I was for the death penalty, but looking at these cases and the rapidly increasing number of exonerations, there are just too many possibilities for error.” He went on to observe, “You have a system with too many working parts. We have malpractice in medicine. We don’t expect the Yankees to win all their games. And yet we assume the criminal justice system is without error.” Kurtis’s new book examines two cases of death row exonerees, detailing the errors that led to their wrongful convictions. Through his investigation, Kurtis came to the realization that capital punishment must end because the system cannot guarantee accuracy.

In his call for abandoning capital punishment, he states, “We have two little final obstacles to get over. One is that we have to convince people that life without parole is bad. Worse than killing somebody. And secondly, we have to get over the fact that it’s some kind of closure for the families. The only reason the death penalty is still there is that we want to do something for the victims. It’s ‘closure.’ But what if you lose your wife from cancer, or a car wreck? Someone killed in Iraq – what do you do then? It’s not closure. It never is.” (Kansas City Star, December 16, 2004). See New Voices. See also Innocence, Life Without Parole, and Victims.