Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Parole board denies clemency for Troy Davis

I had not posted on this because I was really hoping that at the last moment I would be able to post that Troy Davis would get another extension of his lease on life. And more importantly a chance to have some questionable evidence looked at. But it seems that is not the case because the Georgia state Board of Pardons and Paroles have declined to commute the death penalty sentence Davis is facing this coming Wednesday.

For those that don't know Troy Davis was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of police officer Mark Allen MacPhail. At the heart of the of the matter is there is evidence (including a witness that says she heard another man confess to the murder) that casts a shadow of doubt on the original conviction and it seems that this evidence is being ignored.

This is why I've grown so mixed on the issue of the death penalty over time. If Davis were to be sentenced to life without parole or life there would still be at least some chance to possibly prove his innocence (and its not that I necessarily think he is innocent however I think this evidence should not be ignored especially with a man's life literally depends on the outcome). At the worst if he is guilty then he dies in prison and never sees the light of day as a free man again. But if he is executed there is NO way to apologize, atone, ask forgiveness, and no amount of money paid to his surviving family will bring their Troy back to them. Which is this line is a bit painful:
“A future was taken from me,” said Madison MacPhail, unable to hold back tears. “The death penalty is the correct form of justice. … Troy Davis murdered my father, no questions asked."
I'm not trying to say that Madison (the daughter Mark was taken from) is wrong to be angry and I'm not surprised that she wants him dead but to say that taking his life is the correct form of justice is a bit much. In fact it sounds more like revenge than justice. I think justice would try to do its damndest to make sure the person that is going to die as punishment for a crime is the right person and there are a lot of people who really don't think it justice is working properly here.

Again let's say it turns out Davis was wrongly executed. Not to say that she would pursue such measures, but what if Martina Correia (Davis' sister) starts to call for someone to be killed because her brother was murdered in much the same way as MacPhail. (And I bet some of the same people that are advocating to have Davis killed now would suddenly change their tune if this happened.) It would just be a cycle of violence, hatred, and revenge. MacPhail certainly deserves to have his killer brought to justice but I don't think hate based revenge is the way to do it.

Troy Davis is nowhere near the first man, black or otherwise, to be convicted and executed for a crime he did not commit. And while sadly the conviction rate on crimes will more than likely never be 100% correct I think more could be done to allow for grave mistakes to be corrected in some way. There is no way to correct the execution of an innocent man.

Fro tip to Renee.


EasilyEnthused said...

"Many that live deserve death. Some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them, Frodo? Do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment. Even the very wise cannot see all ends."

A flawed system that deals out the only permanent punishment will - necessarily - create injustice.

womanistmusings said...

Guilt or innocence aside, becasue the death penalty is disproportionately applied to the poor and men of colour it needs to be eliminated. It is racist, classist and sexist. I say sexist because though women commit murder, they are sentenced to death in far less instances then men.

Danny said...

True EE. True.

Danny said...

Hi Renee.

There's no question that gender has just as much to do with this as race and class. If this link (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capital_punishment_in_the_United_States) is to be trusted of all the people that have been executed since 1976 only .9% of them have been women. Troy's chances might have improved a bit if he were white but he would more than likely have never been sentenced death in the first place if he were a woman.