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Impending Execution of Troy Davis

 
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Jane G



Joined: 29 Jun 2007
Posts: 277
Location: Washington, DC

PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 5:34 pm    Post subject: Impending Execution of Troy Davis Reply with quote

I'm not certain how many of you have heard of this case; it's occasionally gotten into national media, but awareness has largely been at the grassroots level.

Quote:
Troy Davis came within 24 hours of execution in July, 2007 before receiving a temporary stay of execution. But the Georgia Supreme Court denied Mr. Davisí motion for a new trial and now he faces execution on September 23. Troy Davis was sentenced to death for the murder of Police Officer Mark MacPhail in Georgia. The case against him consisted entirely of witness testimony which contained inconsistencies even during the trial. Since then, all but two of the state's nine non-police witnesses from the trial have recanted or contradicted their testimony. Many of these witnesses have stated in sworn affidavits that they were pressured or coerced by police into testifying or signing statements against Troy Davis.


Click here for more detailed information

This case is one of the major reasons I am strongly in favor of abolishing the death penalty. Some of the witnesses in the case were either forced to sign an affidavits that they couldn't read--as they were illiterate--or teenagers who were threatened with life imprisonment without testimony.

Anyway-- I just thought I'd let you all know, and hear your thoughts about this case.
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Yulie



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1149
Location: Elsewhere

PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2008 1:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've read some reports from the Innocence Network website, though not specifically on this case. A lot of the exonerations are from truly appaling cases in which dodgy eyewitness testimony was the only reason for the conviction. The lucky ones eventually got DNA testing which proved their innocence - but in some cases DNA testing cannot be done. Without a doubt innocent people have been executed. At the very least a moratorium on executions would be a good idea for the time being.

Also on the Innocence Network blog, check out the reporting from Mississippi, where things are further complicated by what appears to be forensic misconduct by the person who, since the early 1990s, had conducted most of the autopsies there.
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KarenS



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 870
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2008 10:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I also agree with abolishing the death penalty. The sad thing is the lack of guidelines in determining who will receive the death penalty. It's up to each district attorney to ask for the death penalty so there is no set rules for asking for it. If a DA wants to make a name for himself, this is one way to do it. Other DA's might never ask for it, so it's applied unequally.

Sister Helen Prejean's Dead Man Walking is an excellent book on the subject. She is known as the Mother Theresa of death row for her courageous stand.

I have a good friend who is a retired FBI agent who is part of the Innocence Project for Florida as well as an another attorney friend who does death row appeals. Both sees the futileness of killing more from the standpoint of it not being applied equally as well as the expensiveness of execution. It's actually cheaper to give a life sentence instead of executing them. The number of appeals that are done at the last moment for a stay of execution costs big bucks. Leave them in jail forever.

Society tries to do right by the victim of the crime but how do we know if the person found guilty is truly guilty? Unless the person admits to the killing and asks to die, let the rest live in prison for the rest of their lives.
However, I will mention the one person who was executed that I felt deserved to die was Ted Bundy. This is a total emotional reaction on my part but what he did was so heinous that I felt the world is better off without him.
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Jane G



Joined: 29 Jun 2007
Posts: 277
Location: Washington, DC

PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2008 10:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm actually working within a few groups I'm in on campus (Catholic Student Association and my school's chapter of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty) to bring Sr. Helen Prejean to campus. I really hope it works out. We're still in early planning stages, but I have high hopes.

It's also horrifying when you look into botched executions. I read a list of all botched executions, I think since the moratorium ended after the Furman decision. I don't understand how it could be considered constitutional, how it doesn't violate the 8th amendment, when people without medical training mix up chemicals and wind up chemically burning a person from the inside out.
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Jane G



Joined: 29 Jun 2007
Posts: 277
Location: Washington, DC

PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2008 10:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Troy Davis was denied clemency, and thus will be executed on Sept. 23.

His only hope is a Supreme Court intervention, but his execution is scheduled before they start this session.

I can't believe there is anyone who is absolutely, 100% certain that he is guilty. Anything less than that in the American justice system is supposed to mean that you're innocent--"beyond a shadow of a doubt."

But the state of Georgia is going to put a man to death, someone who was likely wrongly convicted in the first place.

I felt this way--though not as passionately--when they executed Stanley Williams a few years ago. Was he guilty? Yes; he shouldn't be released from jail, I don't think anyone argued that. But for God's sake, the man was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize while in prison. I think that says something about his atonement for his crimes. But the state of California executed him.

It seems to me that when states face pressure to grant clemency, they never do, even when it's deserved. They'd rather stick to their guns (no pun intended) than show any softness on crime. And that includes executing innocent or repentant criminals.
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tafka



Joined: 06 Jun 2007
Posts: 43

PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2008 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jane G wrote:
Anything less than that in the American justice system is supposed to mean that you're innocent--"beyond a shadow of a doubt."


In a criminal case, the standard is beyond a "reasonable" doubt, not beyond a "shadow" of a doubt.

http://www.yourdictionary.com/beyond-a-reasonable-doubt
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Yulie



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1149
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2008 2:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tafka wrote:
In a criminal case, the standard is beyond a "reasonable" doubt, not beyond a "shadow" of a doubt.

Well, I think we've got both a shadow of a doubt and a reasonable doubt, if not more than that. At the very least grant the man a stay of execution and properly investigate the allegations regarding the coerced testimony. Eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable to begin with, and this seems to go well beyond just mistaken identity. What's unfortunate is that there is no DNA evidence to test in this cae, so the guy is completely at the mercy of the court system.
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Jane G



Joined: 29 Jun 2007
Posts: 277
Location: Washington, DC

PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2008 3:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tafka-- Sorry, that's what I meant. That's what happens when it gets late. I start getting movies mixed up with the Constitution. :)

Though, as Yulie pointed out, I think there's considerably more than reasonable doubt in this case.
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