Approximately 300 veterans are on death row today, and many others have already been executed, suggests a report by the Death Penalty Information Center.
Perhaps even more surprising, when many of these veterans faced death penalty trials, their service and related illnesses were barely touched on as their lives were being weighed by judges and juries.
Defense attorneys failed to investigate this critical area of mitigation; prosecutors dismissed, or even belittled, their claims of mental trauma from the war; judges discounted such evidence on appeal; and governors passed on their opportunity to bestow the country's mercy. In older cases, some of that dismissiveness might be attributed to ignorance about PTSD and related problems. But many of those death sentences still stand today when the country knows better.
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