Editorial: NU opens nation’s eyes to death penalty flaws

Among those celebrating after the governor’s announcements were Medill Prof. David Protess, his students and the staff of the Law School’s Center on Wrongful Convictions — and it was a well-earned celebration.

The center was founded in 1999. A few months later, Law Prof. Lawrence Marshall and Protess made waves by demonstrating the innocence of former death row inmate Anthony Porter. Marshall literally saved Porter’s life, winning a reprieve less than 48 hours before Porter was scheduled to die. The Porter case was among the factors that led Ryan, a former supporter of the death penalty, to impose the now-famous moratorium — a moratorium that has become permanent for the 167 on death row until Saturday.

And in a sense, the nation can thank a group of dedicated Northwestern professors and students for starting that dialogue, for opening the public’s eyes to the truth that innocent people are sentenced to death.

As members of the NU community, we are proud of Protess’ and the center’s work. And as citizens, we thank them for their selfless public service.