On One Hand

September 22, 2008

State of Georgia Prepares to Execute Innocent Man

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 7:35 pm
Tags: , ,

What do you call it when an innocent person is strapped to a gurney and killed by lethal injection?

Murder.

What does it mean when the decision to execute an innocent person was affirmed by a state Supreme Court and allowed to continue by all checks instituted to prevent a wrongful execution?

It means that the people who made the call to carry out the sentence are guilty of murder, that the people who strung together the flimsy and falsified case are guilty of murder, and that the state and the process that led to that decision is tragically flawed. It’s hardly arguable that the government that carries out the crime of murdering one of its citizens – one of those whom it has been entrusted to protect – continues to be a valid government.

Over a year ago, on July, 18, 2007, Troy Davis was within a day of his execution in the state of Georgia when a state parole board granted him a temporary stay to give courts time to review the case. (See more here.) The stay of execution was based on the fact that that 7 of the 9 witnesses in the original trial recanted or changed their stories, claiming they were coerced by police or prosecutors. No DNA or physical evidence linking Davis to the murder has been brought to court; instead, the conviction was made on the basis of witness testimony, which has since crumbled. The evidence now indicates that Troy Davis is innocent.

Davis is now scheduled for execution again at 7pm Eastern time, Tuesday, September 23, 2008. The United States Supreme Court is set to hear an appeal to his death sentence on September 29, 6 days after the execution will have taken place – the Georgia State Supreme Court today insisted there will be no stay of execution.

Georgia is one of three states in which the governor has no power to grant clemency, and state authorities have indicated that they fully intend to carry out the execution.

The heated election season is drawing media attention away from the crisis, which is sparking widespread controversy nonetheless. Marches have taken place in Atlanta, Georgia and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Pope John Paul II, former president Jimmy Carter, Al Sharpton, and Libertarian candidate for president Bob Barr have been part of the effort to save Davis’ life.

***Update from Tuesday, September 23, 11:43PM Eastern Time

Two hours before Troy Davis was to be put to death, the United States Supreme Court held an emergency session to grant Troy Davis a Stay of Execution. Davis first heard the news on television. In six days the court will hear his case to see if he should be on death row at all.

This is the second emergency stay Davis was given, which – weighed with the likelihood that he is innocent – is short of murder, but is not short of torture of an innocent person. If the Supreme Court finds that the death sentence so nearly carried out was indeed wrongful, one hopes that the fallout would be immense and warrant a second look at the death penalty in America.

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2 Comments »

  1. dude

    crazy. let me know what happens.-

    Comment by fb_shs — September 23, 2008 @ 1:52 pm | Reply

    • The U.S. Supreme Court granted him a stay of execution two hours before the sentence was to be carried out.

      Comment by ononehand — September 24, 2008 @ 3:29 am | Reply


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