Judge Kopf of a federal court in Nebraska, provides three reasons as to why the answer to that question will be "yes", that he will in fact authorize, as a judge, an execution of a person that he, as a judge, knew was innocent of the crime he was charged with, convicted for and condemned to death for.
I will quote Judge Kopf's own words, with my highlighting:
Thus, the three reasons why a federal judge would allow an execution of an innocent person to proceed are:
(1) if there is such a precedent (in another case another judge allowed the same injustice to be done);
(2) a pardon procedure is available (a discretionary relief from the executive branch) - in other words, if the Governor, on a whim, without considering the issue of guilt or innocence, may just decide to forgive the condemned to death prisoner, whether he committed any crimes or not - you understand how unlikely that is;
(3) the innocent person is himself to blame that he did not raise his innocence earlier - but he did, by pleading not guilty from the very beginning of the criminal proceedings!
So, an outspoken and honest judge who can be thanked at least for his honesty, for expressing what he feels about such "hypothetical" situation as having to condemn to death an innocent person knowing about his innocence - provides three reasons why such a gross injustice as using the law to take the life of an INNOCENT human being may be justified:
(1) if some other judge before this judge already did the same thing and provided a "precedent" for the present judge to rely upon - this argument perpetuates injustice, and violates an ancient principle that abuse of the law, even if it is a long abuse of the law, does not make the abuse the actual law;
(2) if somebody else may still (unlikely though it is) come to the rescue of the condemned INNOCENT person - then it is still good and lawful to condemn him to die;
(3) this is a classic - blame the innocent victim that he or she did not yell loud and persuasive enough that he or she is innocent. What happened with the right of defendant to remain silent, plea of not guilty. Moreover, what does timing have to do with anything when we are talking about the case where THE JUDGE KNOWS THE PERSON IS INNOCENT!!!
What Judge Kopf described about his feelings is all that is wrong with our judiciary system:
(1) perpetuate the injustice based on prior injustice;
(2) pass the buck to somebody else who may do your job for you;
(3) blame the victim.
To devise "legal" reasons justifying sending to death the person who the judge KNOWS IS INNOCENT is simply sick - but the problem is that this reasoning, from my personal experience and research, reflects the reasoning of the entire judicial system of the United States and its "sovereign states" where courts which habitually choose "finality" over fairness, even when they know they commit gross injustice.
And they do that after having been sworn in office to protect the U.S. constitution which, among other things, prohibits cruel and unusual punishment - and tell me, is there a more cruel punishment than to punish with a death penalty an innocent person who committed no crime?
The 8th Amendment that Judge Kopf is sworn to protect, never ONCE entered his reasoning.
When we have judges who look for precedent allowing them to violate the very Constitution they are sworn to protect, who in their right mind can call this judicial system "access to justice" and "the rule of law"?