“Georgia is prepared to snuff out the life of an innocent man.”

There is not much more to be said regarding the execution of Troy Davis.  The doubts regarding his guilt have been reported in every major news outlet and over 600,000 petitions for clemency have been delivered to the Georgia Board of Pardons.  In a case where 7 of 9 witnesses recanted (read sworn affidavits compiled in 2007), where several re-pointed the finger at one of the witnesses who did not recant, one needs to re-assess the flimsy evidence that got him on death row.

The proper lens here is that this seems to be by far the largest push-back against any single execution in American history.  This is not merely those who conscientiously object to the government use of violence to fight violence.  This case has gone viral because Troy Davis’ guilt cannot be clearly demonstrated.  Granted, convictions are complex mountains of eye-witness testimony and physical evidence (albeit none here)- but in a death penalty case, the explanation should at least be clear and obvious for all whose name the execution is carried out in.

Not only does the case cast doubt upon the ability of our criminal justice system to catch its own errors (and possibly point to reckless of malicious behavior of public employees in the system), but Troy Davis’ execution also brings into question the morals of a society.  It is hard to overlook the recent applause to presidential candidate Rick Perry’s execution rate in Texas.  Perhaps it was a particularly narrow cross-section of America, but it contrasts a willingness to execute with Georgia’s willingness to do so even when the conviction is less than convincing.

Sort of like bombing a country for having Weapons of Mass Destruction when the only proof is that there may be Weapons of Mass Destruction.

What will happen next?  Will there be a hand of God to intervene?  What will a committed group of activists do?

A century and a half after Rhode Island executed their last prisoner, John Gordon, he was pardoned by Gov. Lincoln Chaffee.  The state shunned the death penalty because it was soon clear that Gordon was innocent, and part of an anti-Irish, anti-Catholic racist sentiment that didn’t much care to get to the truth.

What will be Georgia’s legacy for Troy Davis?  As he told supporters, “I will not stop fighting until I have taken my last breath.  Georgia is prepared to snuff out the life of an innocent man.”

FIND OUT MORE:  http://www.amnestyusa.org/our-work/cases/usa-troy-davis

 

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About Bruce Reilly

Bruce Reilly is the Deputy Director of Voice of the Ex-Offender in New Orleans, LA. He is a graduate of Tulane Law School and author of NewJack's Guide to the Big House. Much of his writing can be found on www.Unprison.org.
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