Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Will Georgia murder an innocent man?

Troy Davis' life rests in the hands of the four men and one woman who make up Georgia's Board of Pardons and Parole. They will make a decision today that will either result in life or death. A thumbs up and the life of an innocent man is spared. A thumbs down and the State of Georgia will be guilty of murder.

It has been pointed out endlessly that all but two witnesses from Mr. Davis' trial have recanted their testimony that Mr. Davis was the man who shot Savannah (GA) police officer Mark MacPhail in 1989. One of the two clinging to their story is the man whom Mr. Davis has steadfastly claimed pulled the trigger.

The gun was never recovered.

There were no forensics.

Just the eyewitness testimony of nine people.

Nine people asked to remember what happened in the blink of an eye. Nine people asked to testify, in detail, about the chaos unfolding around them. Nine people who were "reminded" by the prosecutors and police many times over that Mr. Davis was the bad guy.

The taking of a life by the state is the single most intrusive act the government can perform. It is the ultimate punishment. You can take away a man's money. You can take away his time. But when you take his life - he ceases to exist.

If there is ever a time to err on the side of caution, it is when we're talking about the murder of a person by the state. What could be more cruel that taking the life of an innocent man in the name of "finality?"

As I have stated many times here (and will state many more times to come), killing Troy Davis will not bring Mark MacPhail back to life. Killing Troy Davis won't fill the void in the MacPhail family. Killing Troy Davis will only mean that Mr. MacPhail's killer will never be brought to justice.

It's time to do the right thing. The only question is whether or not four men and one woman in Georgia have the strength to do it.

See also:

"Troy Davis to learn execution fate as protests continue in Georgia," The Guardian (Sept. 19, 2011)
"Thumbs up/thumbs down," Gamso for the Defense (Sept. 18, 2011)
"It's not cruel or unusual to execute an innocent man," The Defense Rests (Oct. 15, 2008)

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