As I write these words, the execution of Troy Davis has been temporarily delayed. Perhaps he will still die this evening at the hands of the Georgia State justice system. Perhaps he will live on to fight his case.
I’m only blogging to make a couple of quick points, because the online comment about the Davis case is getting overwhelming – and even a couple of short points are too much for Twitter:
- I agree that the state-sponsored killing of citizens is wrong, even if they are found guilty of a crime, however the for/against death penalty argument is entirely tangled up with people calling for Davis to live, to the point that many are now suggesting it ‘doesn’t matter’ if he is guilty or not. The family of the man he allegedly murdered in 1989 would beg to differ.
- I would normally trust Amnesty International in cases like this, but there is quite a lot of online debate and reports from the District Attorney’s office suggesting that the Davis case has been thoroughly re-examined and the guilty verdict is only standing after a long period of checking and checking again. Who do we trust? I don’t personally know the intimate details of the case, so is the DA or Amnesty right on this?
Whatever happens to Troy Davis tonight, the outrage over his fate will at least encourage some people to investigate the unfairness and racial bias of capital trials in the US. And I don’t mean unfairness in that state-sponsored killing is unfair… if US states insist on capital punishment then the very least they should do is to apply it consistently and fairly.
I hope he manages to cheat death tonight, but I also hope that he is an innocent man with a court verdict that still has not been proven beyond reasonable doubt. If Amnesty has stirred all this up after a thorough investigation by the DA then it would make me inclined to ignore any of their future appeals.