George Stinney was just 14-years-old when he was convicted for the murders of two white girls ages 11 and 7. The confession was shaky, and Stinney did not have proper representation. The young child didn’t stand a chance against the South Carolina jury.
Although it has been almost 70 years since the boy’s execution, supporters of Stinney asked a judge to grant him a new trial in hopes of clearing his name.
The request for a new trial is largely symbolic, but Stinney’s supporters say they would prefer exoneration to a pardon.
Stinney’s case intersects some long-running disputes in the American legal system — the death penalty and race. At 14, he’s the youngest person executed in the United States in past 100 years. He was electrocuted just 84 days after the girls were killed in March 1944.
The request for a new trial includes sworn statements from two of Stinney’s siblings who say he was with them the entire day the girls were killed.
The request won’t be easy. The judge may refuse to hear it at all since Stinney was already executed. South Carolina also has strict rules for introducing new evidence after a trial is complete.
Stinney’s case is regarded as a prime example of racism within the court system. Stinney was separated from his entire family, who was forced to flee the town due to death threats. The boy had no accurate representation, with his defense attorney justifying his innocence only by his age.
The execution of teens was common at that time. Florida put a 16-year-old boy to death for rape in 1944.
Should George Stinney be granted a new trial/pardoned?
Or should supporters focus their attention on current cases where innocent people are still alive?
Sound off below!