Thursday, September 22, 2011

Troy Davis, possibly innocent man, executed in Georgia

| »
Troy Arthur Davis (1968–2011)
Troy Davis (1968–2011)

Meet Troy A. Davis. He was a death row inmate in Georgia. He stood convicted of the 1989 shooting death of off-duty police officer Mark MacPhail. He’d been awaiting his court-ordered execution behind bars for the 22 years since.

There’s just one problem, though. Of the nine eyewitnesses who testified that Davis was the killer, seven of them have since recanted, changing or outright retracting their accounts of what happened that day and dropping their accusations against Davis.

There’s another problem. There has since been numerous allegations of procedural issues throughout the case, including accusations of coercion of witnesses by police (notably of the seven who recanted), problematic racial composition of the jury (seven of the twelve were Black), generalized misconduct, and repeatedly preventing Davis and his defense from presenting evidence that may have shown his innocence due to legal technicalities.

There’s also another problem. There is zero physical evidence tying Davis to the crime at all. The murder weapon was never found, and there was no blood or DNA to be tested. The only evidence against Davis were nondescript shell casings found in the vicinity that were “linked” to an earlier shooting that Davis was convicted of, and the aforementioned seriously flawed eyewitness testimony.

There’s also yet another problem. Doubts throughout the case were so grave and persistent that entities such as Amnesty International, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Vatican, former President Jimmy Carter, former FBI Director William Sessions, Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) and various European dignitaries all denounced the decision to execute Davis, demanding that the state at least work through the problems before sending a man to die based on increasingly shoddy evidence.

And so, of course, to put an end to all this confusion and to preemptively rectify any possible future mistakes and to avoid having to deal with yet more delays, the state of Georgia has finally gone ahead and killed the man once and for all.

That’s what you get for being a possibly (if not probably) innocent (Black) inmate who’s caused all this trouble for state and federal L.E.O.s and bureaucrats in a desperate attempt to try and get the courts to even consider the possibility that you might be innocent. But, after all, as Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has made clear, what matters is due process, not actual guilt or innocence.

But, remember: The U.S. has the very best justice system in the world. And don’t you ever let anyone tell you different, no matter how many presumed or confirmed innocents get put to death along the way.