Troy Davis

This was murder.

I think the death penalty has merit. I like the idea of an ultimate solution. And I’m not generally in favor of killing, and it’s certainly not motivated by any sort of revenge like many claim.

There are some people who have done such horrendous things that it’s best for humankind if we remove them from our species. More an extermination of vermin than revenge for taking someone’s life.

I do think that it should be used very, very rarely. Manson, Dahmer, BTK… There’s no doubt that they all did these horrible things and would do them again if given the chance.

Troy Davis was different.

There was no physical evidence that he committed the crime he was accused of. Seven of the nine eyewitnesses (which were the only things that convicted him) recanted, saying the real killer threatened to kill them if they didn’t testify against Davis. There was no confession.

Now, I don’t know if he did it or not. The point is, NEITHER DOES ANYONE ELSE. All you have now is two less than credible eyewitnesses. And none of this was enough for the clemency board to award him another trial.

Wikipedia Summation

In 2009, the Supreme Court of the United States ordered the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia to consider whether new evidence “that could not have been obtained at the time of trial clearly establishes [Davis’] innocence”. The evidentiary hearing was held in June 2010. The defense presented affidavits from seven of the nine trial witnesses whose original testimony had identified Davis as the murderer, but who had changed or recanted their previous testimony. Some asserted they had been coerced by police. Several implicated one of the original prosecution witnesses, Sylvester “Redd” Coles, in the crime. The state presented witnesses, including the police investigators and original prosecutors, who described a careful investigation of the crime, without any coercion. Evidence that Coles had confessed to the killing was excluded as hearsay because Coles was not subpoenaed by the defense to rebut it. In an August 2010 decision, the conviction was upheld, and the court described defense efforts to upset the conviction as “largely smoke and mirrors”, and found that several of the proffered affidavits were not recantations at all. Subsequent appeals, including to the Supreme Court, were rejected, and a fourth execution date was set for September 21, 2011. Nearly one million people signed petitions urging the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles to grant clemency. The Board denied clemency and, on September 21, it refused to reconsider its decision. After a last minute appeal to the United States Supreme Court was denied, the sentence was carried out on September 21, 2011.

I know, I was shocked too. Until I realized that Davis was a black man who was accused of shooting a white cop. Then, it all became clear.

This was not justice.

This was murder.


3 Responses to “Troy Davis”

  1. Here’s another scary aspect. If he was innocent, which seems very possible, there’s an unconvicted killer out there, who isn’t even being looked for.

    I’d go a bit further than you. While I do think some crimes deserve the death penalty, we’ve had convictions—which would have rated death sentences, if we had such, and seemed 100% absolutely no doubt at all correct—overturned, in the UK, after 20 years or so on either new evidence or overturning of the old. (Good example here)

    Also, as Texas shows, once it’s on the books as an allowable sentence, it’s very open to abuse. The whole prison system is too mind, I know, but at least a custodial sentence is reversible.

    On balance, I’d rather pay for the upkeep a handful of Manson-types on life sentence, than take the chance of murdering wrongly convicted innocents.

    Strange coincidence, almost the exact same discussion coming up on BABS just last week, ain’t it.

  2. I know… It’s completely awful, but I can’t help feeling that the world would be better off without the Mansons of the world. That being said, our justice system absolutely abuses it and on those grounds I would get rid of it all.

    I was more trying to make it clear that I wasn’t pacifistically opposed to it. I kinda shot from the hip a little emotionally on this one.

    I wish someone would prosecute the clemency board for murder.

  3. Yeah, I got what you meant. I guess I’m just feeling kinda wordy tonight :-)

    I’m the same. I’m not against it in principle, it’s the practicalities that get in the way.

    If they ever find out that it’s a result of police coercion, there ought to be a lot more prosecutions than just the clemency board…

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