On The Troy Davis Case

September 21, 2011 at 3:41 am Leave a comment

I am a person that had firm convictions in the death penalty. I used to believe that the capital punishment was warranted if a murder is especially aggravated. It was used in the most aggravated cases and was used as a punishment for the worst of the worst murders.

I believed that serial murders like Ted Bundy and Richard Ramirez deserved the death penalty. For Ted Bundy, he got what deserved which was death for all of the serial murders. Richard Ramierz deserves the death penalty along with Anthony Sowell who convicted 11 people as documented from an article by CNN.

However, the Troy Davis case has really questioned my faith in death penalty. In the Troy Davis, we do not absolute assurance that that he committed the crime. There is too much contradictory evidence that does not allow a reasonable person to have absolute assurance that Troy Davis did the commit the crime.

In the cases of Ted Bundy and Anthony Sowell, there is absolute assurance that the committed the crime and the punishment of death was fair. In my opinion, we have the assurance that we needed and that they got the justice that they deserve.

In the Troy Davis case, we did not have absolute assurance. The following excerpt from the Guardian demonstrates why Troy Davis does not deserve to die

“Davis, 42, was put on death row 20 years ago for the 1989 murder of a police officer, Mark MacPhail, in Savannah following a fight with a homeless man over a bottle of beer. Since then seven out of the nine key witnesses who implicated him have recanted their evidence, several saying they were cajoled by police into giving false eye-witness statements.

Another 10 have come forward to point the finger at a separate man present at the scene of the murder, Sylvester Coles.

Meanwhile, no forensic or DNA evidence linking Davis to the shooting has ever been found, and nor has the murder weapon.

The denial of clemency by the parole board prompted an outpouring of anger and despair from hundreds of Twitter users and several celebrity supporters of Davis’s campaign. The prisoner’s lawyer, Brian Kammer, said he was “shocked and disappointed at the failure of our justice system at all levels to correct a miscarriage of justice”.

From that excerpt, we clearly have a case where do not have absolute assurance. Several eyewitness testimonies have been recanted. There is a lack of physical evidence. Based on that evidence, I would not be able to conclude that I have absolute assurance that he committed the crime. This is a case that does not meet the absolute assurance standard for the death penalty.

There is no room to spare with the death penalty. Without absolute assurance, you cannot have a viable death penalty. If a governor or a parole board does an act like this, it is the parole board or governor’s responsibility to commute all death sentences to life in prison because the room for error is zero.

In Illinois, George Ryan commuted all of the death sentence as reported by CBS News in 2002. He commuted the sentences because he felt that he could not carry forward on a execution because he lacked absolute assurance.

There is no room for error in this case. The board failure to act shows clear disregard for life or respect for the law. I believe that unconscious bias played a huge role in Troy Davis conviction and that unconscious bias have taken been account. Since we have unconscious racial bias and lack of absolute assurance, this case should be sentence to life without parole.

It is shame that this day has came to America. Despite my belief in the death penalty, the murder of Troy Davis has demonstrated the strong possibility to death penalty needs to come to the end. Since America cannot sort out its capital punishment cases in a proper manner, than it is time to time to thinking about eliminating the death penalty. After the case of Troy Davis and the the case of Cameron Todd Willingham as reported in Alternet, we have enough examples to state that ourselves that the American system of capital punishment has failed to operate effectively and strong consideration should be made to eliminate the death penalty because there is enough cases to demonstrate that the death penalty ineffective and should be outlawed.

As a final comment, the Troy Davis murder ase does not meet the criteria of especially aggravated murder that I use to judge whether the death penalty should be applied. I do not consider that shooting an off-duty cop to be especially aggravated murder. Even if I had absolute assurance that Davis did the crime, I would not belief that the merits of the case warrant the use of the death penalty


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