Troy Davis: Doubt casts bigger shadow than we realized

Since DNA evidence became available and admissible in court, 17 people who had been convicted of murder and sentenced to death by execution were later exonerated by DNA. Those innocent people were then freed, often with the support of the very same prosecutors who had initially proved they were guilty “beyond the shadow of a doubt.”

Think about that. Without the tool of DNA evidence, those 17 innocent people would almost certainly have been executed for crimes that they did not commit. In effect, they would have become innocent victims of a society and a legal system that abhor the taking of innocent life. (Since 1973, the Death Penalty Information Center says, more than a hundred people condemned to Death Row have had their sentences overturned because of doubts about their guilt.)

Now think about the hundreds of people on Death Row today for whom no DNA evidence exists. It did not help prove their guilt, and it cannot prove their innocence. It is silent on their case. I have no doubt that most of those on Death Row are guilty of the heinous crimes that they’ve been convicted of committing. However, no honest accounting can claim that they are ALL guilty. Not when, in 17 documented cases in which DNA evidence did exist, it was used to free innocent people who had been wrongly convicted and faced execution.

Every single one of those 17 cases is a caution sign telling us that we do not know all that we think we know, that doubt casts a bigger shadow than we previously understood. In fact, given those numbers, the odds dictate that one or two or even a dozen people convicted of murder without DNA evidence and now on Death Row are innocent.

But which ones are they? Mathematics tells us that the innocent exist; it does not identify who they are.

I can’t say that I think Troy Davis, scheduled to be executed this week for murdering Savannah Police Officer Mark Allen MacPhail, is innocent. My best guess is that he isn’t. My best guess, having reviewed as much of the evidence as I can, is that Davis probably did kill MacPhail. But there is no DNA evidence in the case, no fingerprint evidence, to substantiate that fact. The case is based almost entirely on testimony from eyewitnesses that in some instances has altered over the passage of time.

Davis should not be freed. The minimal doubt that may exist about his guilt does not rise to the level needed to justify overturning his conviction. However, the sense of closure and justice that would be provided to some by his execution does not outweigh the possibility that we would be compounding one tragic killing by committing another.

Seventeen, in this context, is a very big number.

– Jay Bookman

317 comments Add your comment

poison pen

September 20th, 2011
6:03 pm

Jay, As you and most everyone on this blog have stated, it’s still the best justice system in the World. Yes it’s unfortunate that out of hundreds of thousands of criminals an extremely small amount may not be guilty, but it will have to do until something better comes along.

God can then separate the good from the bad, that’s his job.

Jay

September 20th, 2011
6:06 pm

When God does that sorting, Poison, what’s he gonna say about those who weren’t too bothered at the prospect of killing innocent people?

poison pen

September 20th, 2011
6:07 pm

I guess I have concerns about the guilty that get off scott free, case in point, OJ and Casey Anthony just to name two.

It costs approx anywhere from $35,000 to $50,000 per year to keep these criminals behind bars, wouldn’t it be nice to use that money to educate our children.

poison pen

September 20th, 2011
6:09 pm

Jay

” When God does that sorting, Poison, what’s he gonna say about those who weren’t too bothered at the prospect of killing innocent people?”

Jay, I don’t think anyone wants to see anyone killed, but it’s our system and 12 people decide the outcome, not just one.

Midori

September 20th, 2011
6:10 pm

the whole thing just does not feel right.

josef

September 20th, 2011
6:13 pm

I am conflicted on the death penalty. In many cases, I could gladly flip the switch and feel I had done humanity a service. Yet, if only one innocent is executed, that’s one too many. The bar has to be set very, very high in these cases. I don’t know whether or not this man is guilty, but there is enough of a question to not impose the death sentence in my opinion.

ty webb

September 20th, 2011
6:14 pm

Jay, save your poutrage, it’s not like he’s being waterboarded afterall. If it helps you cope, Just think of it as a “post birth abortion”

poison pen

September 20th, 2011
6:16 pm

Ty, I am Ghoulishly laughing at that one.

josef

September 20th, 2011
6:16 pm

poison

Have you seen either version of “Twelve Angry Men?” I’m an unshakeable advocate of the jury of peers system and consider it, with habeas corpus, at the very foundation of our legal system, but, there’s always that question of “peers…” In a capital case, that is critical…

Mary Elizabeth

September 20th, 2011
6:18 pm

“Will have to do” is an expression that is remarkably divorced, emotionally, from the possibility that a man is scheduled to be killed for a crime that he may not have committed. After I had read “Wealth,” I said I felt as if I wanted to be washed off. I have that same feeling, now, because of observing what is going down, in Georgia, in the Troy Davis case.

Paul

September 20th, 2011
6:18 pm

Dallas got a new DA who, bucking the city council, set about reviewing the capital cases with DNA methods. Quite a number have been released from prison.

That, and “When God does that sorting… what’s he gonna say about those who weren’t too bothered at the prospect of killing innocent people?

would make another good followup question for Gov Perry. I’m sure a reporter somewhere will put it to him.

poison pen

September 20th, 2011
6:18 pm

Josef, I don’t know enough about this case, and unless I was on the jury I couldn’t offer an honest opinion. For me to flip the switch I would need concrete proof, then I wouldn’t have a problem.

Concerning Justice

September 20th, 2011
6:19 pm

Justice is so dear to the heart of Nature, that if in the last day one atom of injustice were found, the universe would shrivel like a snakeskin to cast it off forever.
Ancient Proverb

Paul

September 20th, 2011
6:19 pm

josef

Few things terrify me more than the idea of a trial by ‘peers’ in a capital case.

Paul

September 20th, 2011
6:20 pm

josef

add “if I were innocent.”

poison pen

September 20th, 2011
6:21 pm

Mary, You need to lighten up on your reading and find books that make you feel good or read them while taking a hot bath.

josef

September 20th, 2011
6:23 pm

MARY ELIZABETH

Good, you’re here…I noticed the other morning when you chimed in in support of Deborah in Athens, you let her slide on the “trailer trash” comment. Do you have a sliding scale on who it is still okay to malign with impunity? I don’t think Dr. King would approve.

Mary Elizabeth

September 20th, 2011
6:24 pm

I am simply appalled at the remarks of both ty webb (6:14) and poison pen (6:16).

poison pen

September 20th, 2011
6:24 pm

Paul

September 20th, 2011
6:19 pm

josef

” Few things terrify me more than the idea of a trial by ‘peers’ in a capital case.”

Paul, If that happened in the OJ case then Mr. Goldman would have found some closure.

josef

September 20th, 2011
6:25 pm

PAUL

I certainly agree with you on that as a terrorizing thought…but, as imperfect as it is, it sure beats anything else I’ve seen…

And BTW I NEVER get chosen for jury duty…wonder why? :-)

getalife

September 20th, 2011
6:26 pm

cons are pro death.

Lea Reiter

September 20th, 2011
6:26 pm

I challenge anyone who says “we have the best justice system in the world” to show me the data points used to reach this conclusion. And I mean hard numbers comparing the United States to other nations … including civilized countries.

If the U.S. incarcerates 22 – 25% of the world’s prisoners, and the U.S. holds 5% of the world’s population, and it’s true that we have the best legal system in the world, then we’re raising some very disturbing questions. For example, are humans that lacking in self control that it takes the U.S. crack legal system to post such high incarceration figures? And if it’s not true that we have the best legal system in the world, then what does THAT say?

I fear our own arrogance (”we have the best legal system in the world”) may blind us to the need for some much needed reform.

poison pen

September 20th, 2011
6:27 pm

Mary Elizabeth

” I am simply appalled at the remarks of both ty webb (6:14) and poison pen (6:16).”

Mary, Who gives a rats azz what you think. I am appalled by your long and boring liberal posts.

ty webb

September 20th, 2011
6:27 pm

Well then, my work is done here…I’ve apalled someone who sees “Jim Crow” around every corner. ya’ll have a good one.

poison pen

September 20th, 2011
6:28 pm

getalife

” cons are pro death.”

Getalife, Then you better pray that I never get on your jury.

getalife

September 20th, 2011
6:29 pm

pp,

Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.

Peadawg

September 20th, 2011
6:30 pm

Thank you, Jay, for doing a blog about this.

“But there is no DNA evidence in the case, no fingerprint evidence, to substantiate that fact.” – And also the fact that, what, 7 or 9 witness have contradicted or retracted their testimonies.

There’s so much doubt in this case that anyone who says they think Mr. Davis killed a cop with a straight face is a pathetic person.

Mary Elizabeth

September 20th, 2011
6:31 pm

josef@6:23

As I recall, I supported her comments regarding how vouchers could severely harm public education. I don’t recall the context of her “trailer trash” comment although I remember she used those words. Josef, imho, at times you focus on the insignificant. Btw, I was not giving her support in contrast to your remarks. Your remarks had nothing to do with my support. I simply agreed with her essential contention.

Doggone/GA

September 20th, 2011
6:31 pm

I’m paraphrasing here, but one of the most disgusting court decisions I have ever heard was some court (sorry, don’t know all the details) that basicall said Davis should be “satisified” because all the legalities hasd been followed as far as they could go.

If he’s INNOCENT, he should be SATISIFED that he’s going to be executed for a crime he didn’t commit?

To my mind there is enough doubt to make this latest decision nothing but a sop to the dead man’s families desire for revenge. It won’t be JUSTICE for that dead man if it turns out an innocent man was executed.

poison pen

September 20th, 2011
6:31 pm

Lea, Maybe we have the high numbers because a lot of their countries dump their trash on us, or maybe because we are one of a few melting pots in the World.

Please show me the mix of nationalities in these other countries that we have and their percentages, then I might give some concern as to what you claim.

Malkavian Philosopher

September 20th, 2011
6:33 pm

I guess it’s just my taste in the matter of a Justice System based on dispensing justice based on how much Representation you can afford, but I think I can sum up my sentiments on this case with a quote: “It is better one hundred guilty Persons should escape than that one innocent Person should suffer. — Benjamin Franklin” All we have had in this case is hearsay, no DNA Evidence, no forensic evidence, only the “Sworn” (Let’s face it, if Uncle Sam posed a 5-Cent/Lie-told-under-oath Tax, and actually had a way of enforcing it, there would be no deficit, even with 3 wars in the current ongoings…people lie on the stand all the time.) testimony of people put on the stand by the very judicial system looking to snuff him out permanently. If we now can condemn someone to death based on hearsay alone, and are now able to negate the rule of double-jeopardy (In the recent case of the Federal Government overturning a conviction it had on Jose Padilla based on “The Judge wasn’t strict enough with sentencing”. I do not dispute his guilt in the conviction. The issue is that we can now, if this fiasco succeeds, be convicted in a court of law, then be forced to face yet another trial for the same [Alleged, of course. Remember, 'Innocent until proven guilty'] crimes just because they didn’t like the verdict handed out the first time) , then I truly fear for the Rule of Law in this country. I see more evidence day by day that we have slipped into a country that follows the ideal of Rule of Force, rather than the ideals we broke from the British Crown with.

josef

September 20th, 2011
6:33 pm

Lea
At the same time you do need to remember that we are an incredibly violent society on that same world stage…and the death penalty seems to have little effect on that if you look at statistics from other developed countries which have the death penalty…but, still, all in all, when it comes to trial by jury, I’ll stake my luck there…I think we need to look more at the prosecution/penalty aspects…and THERE I have some serious reservations…

poison pen

September 20th, 2011
6:34 pm

Getalife, I don’t do crime, and your one liners are getting tiresom.

Peadawg

September 20th, 2011
6:34 pm

What kills me (no pun intended, I promise) about this most recent try at clemency is when the people who heard the cases yesterday said Troy Davis didn’t do enough to prove his innocence. I’m sorry, but that’s f’ed up. Since when does someone have to prove their innocence? Isn’t it innocent until proven guilty.

Schrodingers cat

September 20th, 2011
6:35 pm

He had his judicial review and it wasn’t enough to overturn the sentence…..however I am pro-life, I don’t think we should kill the criminals or the innocents …unfortunately it’s the criminals that get all the attention!

Max

September 20th, 2011
6:35 pm

Who are you to kill people…….

getalife

September 20th, 2011
6:36 pm

pp,

Don’t read them.

josef

September 20th, 2011
6:38 pm

MARY ELIZABETH

I may focus on what you would term “insignificant.” I might well have agreed with her summation on vouchers, too, had she not gone into that acceptable “insignificant” bigotry. After that, it was not possible for me to credit her with any validity. If you can, then go for it. What if she had said “projects trash?” Then what? Not to be too snarky, but I think you might want to go back to the water fountain for another epiphany. It was a supercillious and arrogant “I’m superior” attitude. No empathy whatsoever.

Schrodingers cat

September 20th, 2011
6:40 pm

get – ” cons are pro death.”
_______________________

unless we’re talkin about abortion…on that is flipped…..weird huh?

Aquagirl

September 20th, 2011
6:41 pm

Since when does someone have to prove their innocence?

Since *after* they’ve been found guilty.

Compassion

September 20th, 2011
6:42 pm

I bet if this were a family member many would be singing a completely different tune…injustice is fine as long as it happens to someone else…well, eventually someone else ALWAYS becomes you…and I can’t wait until the day those that sat back and did nothing or think this situation is funny or not that big of a deal are made to lie in their own beds.

getalife

September 20th, 2011
6:46 pm

cat,

Weird?

Typical con hypocrisy.

josef

September 20th, 2011
6:47 pm

Compassion

I tend to agree with you fairly strongly on that…

Midori

I’m like you, there’s just something not completely right in this one…there’s too much doubt…too many unanswered questions…

1811/0311

September 20th, 2011
6:47 pm

Jay:

I agree with you on this ………… with the follwing conditions:

1) Solitary confinement without the chance of parole.

2) No visitors (family or friends) for the rest of his life because he is “dead” just like the officer he murdered.

3) He can see no movies/television programs or read any books/newspapers that were produced or written after the date of death of the officer he murdered.

P.S.

Anyone who changed their testimony under oath must be prosecuted for perjury and if convicted receive at least 3 years in prison.

Otherwise ……………… let ‘er rip.

Mark Azerty

September 20th, 2011
6:48 pm

Jay, the standard for conviction is not “beyond a shadow of a doubt,” but “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Not very many cases have evidence “beyond a shadow of a doubt.” This is the definition of reasonable doubt used in Connecticut:

The meaning of reasonable doubt can be arrived at by emphasizing the word reasonable. It is not a surmise, a guess or mere conjecture. It is not a doubt raised by anyone simply for the sake of raising a doubt. It is such a doubt as, in serious affairs that concern you, you would heed; that is, such a doubt as would cause reasonable men and women to hesitate to act upon it in matters of importance. It is not hesitation springing from any feelings of pity or sympathy for the accused or any other person who might be affected by your decision. It is, in other words, a real doubt, an honest doubt, a doubt that has its foundation in the evidence or lack of evidence. It is doubt that is honestly entertained and is reasonable in light of the evidence after a fair comparison and careful examination of the entire evidence.

Proof beyond a reasonable doubt does not mean proof beyond all doubt; the law does not require absolute certainty on the part of the jury before it returns a verdict of guilty. The law requires that, after hearing all the evidence, if there is something in the evidence or lack of evidence that leaves in your minds, as reasonable men and women, a reasonable doubt as to the guilt of the accused, then the accused must be given the benefit of that doubt and acquitted. Proof beyond a reasonable doubt is proof that precludes every reasonable hypothesis except guilt and is inconsistent with any other rational conclusion.

Mary Elizabeth

September 20th, 2011
6:48 pm

Josef@ 6:38

“Not to be too snarky, but I think you might want to go back to the water fountain for another epiphany. It was a supercillious and arrogant “I’m superior” attitude. No empathy whatsoever.”

——————————-

What in the world are you referring to, Josef? Be specific, please.

jt

September 20th, 2011
6:51 pm

“. In effect, they would have become innocent victims of a society and a legal system that abhor the taking of innocent life.”
.
I do not know of such society or legal system Bookman speaks of.
Nor does he.
Like most progressives………….he is fooling himself.

josef

September 20th, 2011
6:51 pm

Mark Azerty

Yes. One of the reasons I recommend “Twelve Angry Men” so highly…

Stonethrower

September 20th, 2011
6:54 pm

“Twelve Angry Men”…..fiction. Doesn’t happen like that in the real world. A lot of folks would be happy if we had public executions.

Schrodingers cat

September 20th, 2011
6:54 pm

get – ;) you slay

getalife

September 20th, 2011
6:55 pm

Let them die is not pro life.

josef

September 20th, 2011
6:55 pm

MARY ELIZABETH

You make a big deal of your “spiritual” awakening in the matter of Jim Crow, yet you can’t (or won’t) see that exactly the same thing is at work with not jumping dead on anyone who paints broad brush superiority to a class of people. ANY time such rears its ugly head, it should be countered in the strongest of terms…that’s what I’m saying…

And Unmentionable just put it, “before you go walking on water, you might want to wait til it freezes.”

Mighty Righty

September 20th, 2011
6:56 pm

The man was tried and found guilty by our court system. His appeal was heard four times by experts in criminal law. The recanting of testimony by a couple of witnesses failed to convince the parole board. There must have been other evidence of his guilt which seems funny that the media doesn’t want to detail. Time for the sentence to be carried out.

Concerning Justice

September 20th, 2011
6:57 pm

Twelve Angry Men – fiction as well as the “Green Mile”.

Schrodingers cat

September 20th, 2011
6:57 pm

No get it’s pro choice

Schrodingers cat

September 20th, 2011
6:59 pm

Twelve Angry Men – fiction as well as the “Green Mile”.

but Walking Tall is based on a true story

josef

September 20th, 2011
7:04 pm

Stonethrower
Having never had the opportunity to serve on a jury, I couldn’t say from personal experience just how “real life” it was…I can, though, from my associations with my peers see it as having relevance…

Soothsayer

September 20th, 2011
7:11 pm

They cheer at the thought of an uninsured person dying. They cheer at the thought of state-sponsored murder. In all, the 2012 Tea Party Republican debates have revealed that they are a death cult.

From the proclamations of Republican officials that the unemployed are poor because they lack spirit and drive, an Orwellian political vocabulary of “job creators” and “non-productive citizens,” opines that poor people in America have it relatively easy (thus austerity politics ought not to be that painful), and a belief that the social safety net (basic programs such as Social Security and unemployment insurance) has destroyed the United States and made people “lazy,”contemporary conservatism has fully embraced a politics that are utterly and totally bereft of human empathy.

[P]opulist conservatism is also colored by an unflappable instinct that faith should be the guiding principle in political decision making–what is a belief in the unprovable–that fuels a theocratic vision of public policy under the umbrella of Christian Nationalism and Dominionism. Because the Tea Party GOP’s foot soldiers, as well as the Bachmanns, Palins, Perrys, and Cains believe a thing to be true–often in the face of all available evidence and data on the subject–it must in turn be as they imagine. Reality must always bend to their will: the anti-intellectualism of populist conservatism demands that the facts are to be damned; empirical reality is to be discounted as some type of plot by the mainstream media, “liberals,” or “elites.”

God help us all.

carlosgvv

September 20th, 2011
7:12 pm

There are people in many States on death row who probably have witnesses who would recant. What isn’t generally known is that many of the leading advocates of stopping the Troy Davis execution are actually doing everything they can to do away with the death penalty period. This is their real motivation in this case. It is not implausable that some of these people may have skillfully talked to the original accusers of Davis and “persuaded” them that maybe, their statements were not accurate at the time. All of this supposed evidence exonerating Davis has been reviewed by many Courts, including The Supreme Court, and deemed not worthy of granting Davis a new trial or stopping the execution. I will not presume to know more about this case and the law than all these judges and Supreme Court Justices. Will any of you?

Mighty Righty

September 20th, 2011
7:12 pm

It seems to me there is a lot of disagreement here with the parole boadrs decision. First, my guess is that they know more about crime in general and murder inparticular than anyone who posts here. They heard his appeal four times. They made the decision that the self appointed experts who did not hear the case, did not sit on the jury or read a detailed summary of the trial and/or hearing feel is wrong. Amazing!

Schrodingers cat

September 20th, 2011
7:15 pm

wow carlosgvv…well said..i completely agree….go figure!

Mighty Righty

September 20th, 2011
7:17 pm

Ty–Too funny.

Jackie

September 20th, 2011
7:19 pm

All that support the state in their “murder” of this man, remember “…but for the Grace of God go I.”

carlosgvv

September 20th, 2011
7:20 pm

Schrodingers cat

You actually agree with me? Is this the end of the world or the dawning of the Age of Aquarius?

pogo

September 20th, 2011
7:21 pm

You left out the part about the bullet casings from the gun used in the murder Jay. Seems the gentleman used the same gun in an earlier shooting that was directly tied to him. And if you yourself think the man is guilty and you don’t think he should die, then this an argument about the death penalty, not his guilt or innocence isn ‘t it? I would imagine the young officers family would have a totally different opinion. And the officer was trying to help a homeless man whom the defendant was attacking when he was murdered. This man was attacking the most defenseless amongst us and you have pity for him? Did he show pity to the homeless man?

And all of the black an black murders that are committed almost daily in Savannah are black “cons”, right getalife?

mike

September 20th, 2011
7:21 pm

my Dad always told me to be careful who I hung out with. Mr. Davis was running with a bad crowd and was there when the off duty officer was murdered. It’s not like he was just an innocent bystander. He and his buddies were up to no good that night and he may be paying a heavy price for it.

Mary Elizabeth

September 20th, 2011
7:23 pm

Josef@6:55

I guess you are saying that you think I see myself as “walking on water” with my “spiritual” remarks. You perceive all of that because I supported Deborah’s essential thinking on the danger of vouchers to the viability of public schools?

Josef, more is going on here than meets the eye. I am sorry you have developed some hostility toward me, but there is nothing I can do about that other than to say I do not harbor ill will toward you, in return.

I will try to explain to you where I am coming from because we have had a mutually respectful dialoque between in the past. There is a very real danger that the general public can be very much misled about public education’s need to even exist and to be paid for with public taxes. That is the battle I have my eyes on – not whether someone used a derogatory term that I may not have used myself.

This past weekend I watched a Young Republicans Foundation seminar on C-Span2 and I heard again how the Republican agenda is to dismantle public education. Many of the remarks on the vouchers thread on this blog demonstrate that that propaganda is “taking” in the public’s mind. Now here are Deborah’s words:
——————————————————————————-
“Great editorial, Jay. Vouchers will suck the limited resources from our public schools. The vouchers will not be enough for lower middle class and poor children to leave the public schools. They will, however, enable the upper middle class and the wealthy to offset the expenses they would already have, because they are sending their kids to private school already. The private schools will NOT accept the difficult, the great unwashed, or the combative kids that are mucking up the public schools. But, in typical Republican fashion, they will tell the right wing, religious trailer trash that they need to vote Republican to get this done for their benefit, and they will believe it. The gap between rich and poor will continue to widen. The one thing I really resent is the fact that many of these
vouchers will go to religious schools. We are already dumb enough in this state.”
——————————————————-
I would not have said “religious trailer trash” nor would I have said – after religious schools – that “We are already dumb enough in this state.” However, essentially, Deborah is right by calling straight on what is happening in Georgia – that a Republican propaganda force is turning the conservative populace in Georgia against public schools. That is happening. Public schools are in real danger because of it. I care about public schools continuing for future generations. I see a possible return to a resegregated Georgia (by class and wealth, not by race) if vouchers are allowed to reinstate private schools in a massive way, as was done in the 1950s and 1960s.

Hers was not a “nicely correct by protocol” post, but she got to the heart of what is happening in this state in terms of trying to dismantle public education by taking away its credibility with the public. I cannot address all things. I addressed, again, what I felt to be highly significant. I do not support stereotypical labels of any group.

Mighty Righty

September 20th, 2011
7:24 pm

pogo-well said. This argument is not about innocence or guilt.

Jackie

September 20th, 2011
7:24 pm

@mike

How do you know who Troy Davis associated with? How do you make the assertion the community that he lived in was composed of “bad people?”
Please re-examine your associative characteristics.

F. Sinkwich

September 20th, 2011
7:24 pm

Pftzzzzzzzpftzzzzzzzzzzpftzzzzzzz…

I think my lights went dim for second. Is it over?

F. Sinkwich

September 20th, 2011
7:28 pm

If he’s so innocent, why doesn’t the Messiah pardon him?

Barry needs all the votes he can get.

pogo

September 20th, 2011
7:29 pm

Oh, that’s right, they are just victims of society. Aren’t we all? And that should excuse us from responsibility for our actions, no matter horrendous they are, right? Typical drivel from the usual suspects who will move on to the next topic with the same old fervor and nothing changes. But for just one microsecond, they were truly outraged about this mans life (but not his victims).

Jackie

September 20th, 2011
7:36 pm

@pogo

No on is claiming Troy Davis is a victim of society, but, a victim of the judicial system that has NO physical evidence that he was even in the vicinity.

What would you do if you were in his position? It would be good if you would inform yourself about the extraordinary and unusual court proceedings, decisions and opinions by the legal system.

josef

September 20th, 2011
7:37 pm

MARY ELIZABETH

You might not would have said it, but you let it go right on by. You said you recalled it. Well, again, it’s like the millions who walked right on past the “colored only signs” or the “Juden Verboten” signs, just so much background, insignificant stuff. The devil is in the details.

I do not harbor ill will toward you, but when a person such as yourself who wants to evolve onto a higher spiritual plane, comes in “essentially” agreeing with someone who would throw out in passing such comments without challenging him/her, renders to rest of the argument somewhat specious.

And I come back to the question I posed earlier, had she said “ghetto trash” or “projects trash?” Well, of course you wouldn’t. But “trailer trash” slaps me in the face much the same way.

You are a teacher. You use the word “essential.” You know its origins and what it means. Deborah’s “essential” character is what is in question in my book, and that nasty and supercillious superiority class-bashing makes me question anything else she might have to say and makes me wonder if I ought to be agreeing with anything she says, up to and including the grass being green and the sky being blue.

Doggone/GA

September 20th, 2011
7:37 pm

“He and his buddies were up to no good that night and he may be paying a heavy price for it”

So it’s OK with you that a possibly innocent man is executed for a crime he may not have committed. And it’s OK with you that the guilty man (if Davis is innocent) goes free…because “running with a bad crowd” should just naturally mean a death sentence. Even if you just happen to be guilty.

Is that about right?

Doggone/GA

September 20th, 2011
7:38 pm

Oops! Doing too much at once, meant to say “Even if you just happen to be innocent”

Aquagirl

September 20th, 2011
7:42 pm

meant to say “Even if you just happen to be innocent”

Paging Dr. Freud…….

F. Sinkwich

September 20th, 2011
7:43 pm

Dog:

“…possibly innocent man is executed for a crime he may not have committed.”

He did it. Ask the jury.

Guilty as sin.

Brosephus™ - Browning America Since 1973

September 20th, 2011
7:43 pm

I don’t know enough about the evidence to claim his innocence or guilt. Also, I was not one who was tasked to review evidence to determine whether there was enough doubt to have to take another look at his case. Based on what’s been made public, I don’t know if I could come to a definite decision.

That said, our country is pathetic when it comes to capital punishment. If it’s supposed to be some kind of deterrent, we’re completely screwing it up. Laying somebody on a bed and putting them to sleep behind closed doors will not deter a damn thing. If you support capital punishment, then make it a public spectacle for everybody to see. Also make it painful and horrible enough that nobody want’s to have it done to them. That’s how you deter crime. Otherwise, we’re acting like limp noodled pantywastes.

Thomas

September 20th, 2011
7:46 pm

my “spiritual” remarks

ME- that pretty much sums it up. There are a number of left and right folks who were preached to on Sunday morning, Sunday eve, and Wed eve. It is silly for me, you, or anyone else to think they have broken the code on “spiritualness”. It is also silly to be a one way thinker- you are constantly wishing the best on folks which is somewhat patronizing. The country is full of “thinkers” across all spectrums. There are number of folks who favor abortion rights, there are a number of folks that “hate” abortion. There are a number of folks for gun freedom and those against. It doesn’t mean any group of folks need “support”. It is called balance

F. Sinkwich

September 20th, 2011
7:47 pm

“Otherwise, we’re acting like limp noodled pantywastes.”

Obama voters!

kayaker 71

September 20th, 2011
7:49 pm

OK, I’ll open this door. Would all of you anti death penalty liberals out there be as concerned about Mr. Davis if he was a white man? Or does this poor unfortunate soul demand your indignation because of his color?

josef

September 20th, 2011
7:49 pm

BROSEPHUS

Just being EOI here, but there’s something to recommend the Sharia viewpoint…the executioner should come from the victim’s family should they opt for the death penalty…let’s face it, we can call it justice all we want to, but it’s revenge..

Brosephus™ - Browning America Since 1973

September 20th, 2011
7:50 pm

F. Sinkwich

Contrary to popular conservative logic, this country is made up of more than just Obama and/or his supporters. Plenty of people on the right would be included in that limp noodle description.

kayaker 71

September 20th, 2011
7:51 pm

joseph,

If that Savannah cop had been your father would you feel any other way?

Brosephus™ - Browning America Since 1973

September 20th, 2011
7:54 pm

kayaker

I don’t care if he was White, Asian, Indian, or whatever. My view on capital punishment is that, if you’re gonna use it, then you should be damn near 100% positive that the person being punished committed the crime he/she is being punished for.

A case like Brian Nichols, for example, has irrefutable proof that he’s guilty of said crimes. That’s a capital punishment case in my book. Any case resting on heresay and/or circumstantial evidence should not be a capital case.

josef

That was my thought exactly. I just didn’t want to phrase it that way as to upset the anti-Islam contingent here.

Steve - USA

September 20th, 2011
7:54 pm

I am not opposed to the death penalty but you better make damn sure your killing the right person.

josef

September 20th, 2011
7:55 pm

KAYAKER

And had he been white, how would the prosecution have handled it? I’d like to say that the criminal justice system is color/ethnic/class blind, but it isn’t. Certain classes have to prove they are “innocent,” others have to be proven “guilty.” And, no, it’s not just us here in the USA. It happens from one end of planet earth to the other and depends on who’s on top and who’s on bottom in that society.

pogo

September 20th, 2011
7:55 pm

Using Geta’s twisted logic, the inner cities must be full of death loving “cons”. Then again, he may be right if he is referring to convicts and ex-cons. As for him slaying, it appears sometimes he would really like to. There is a lot of hatred in this particular individual. Of course it is easy when you hide behind a keyboard, isn’t it getalife?

poison pen

September 20th, 2011
7:55 pm

Carlos & SoCoBroBrown, I agree with both of your posts.

Josef, I wish that I had your way with words, then maybe I wouldn’t sound so harsh on Mary, who I totally agree with your assessment of.

Doggone/GA

September 20th, 2011
7:56 pm

“He did it. Ask the jury”

And the jury convicted him based on the testimony of 7 witnesses who have since RECANTED that testimony. The jury convicted based on FALSE INFORMATION. They don’t really know.

poison pen

September 20th, 2011
7:59 pm

Doggone, Read Carlos post.

Strawman

September 20th, 2011
8:00 pm

Jay, I don’t know what your position is on the death penalty itself, but I am surprised to find myself in total agreement with what you say in this column. I personally support the death penalty, but only when there is incontrovertible evidence of guilt (such as DNA, video tapes or the like). Since we know, as a matter of fact, that innocent people have been wrongly convicted and then executed for a crime they did not commit, why would we ever dare to repeat that mistake? It is far better to err on the side of caution. Kudos on a good column.

Schrodingers cat

September 20th, 2011
8:00 pm

The Age of Aquarius … why not?

Doggone/GA

September 20th, 2011
8:00 pm

“If that Savannah cop had been your father would you feel any other way?”

I can’t answer for Josef, but I can answer for myself: Yes, I would feel “any other way” I would not be able to sleep easy if I thought there was even a SHRED of doubt that the man executed was guilty. Because IF he’s innocent that means the GUILTY man is walking around free.

Doggone/GA

September 20th, 2011
8:01 pm

“Doggone, Read Carlos post”

I did. I also read the statements of the witnesses who recanted. Carlos is guessing. I suggest YOU read the witnesses recantation statements.

Midori

September 20th, 2011
8:02 pm

Josef

thanks for the 6:47.

I feel so bad for his family and the dead policeman’s family.

All of this bloodthirstiness needs to end, however.

Common Sense isn't very Common

September 20th, 2011
8:05 pm

Since Jay is judge, jury and executioner here in blog heaven.

If he decides that the evidence isn’t there be it far from me to disagree.

I don’t think waiting a while longer before an execution is carried out is a waste of time in this case.

kayaker 71

September 20th, 2011
8:07 pm

joseph,

I am not so sure that the justice system goes out looking for black people who have committed a crime. Mr. Davis,it appears, was at the wrong place at the wrong time. But with the perception of the majority of our citizens who view day in and day out stories and accounts of crime and violence, black males are not looking too good. Are they unfairly prosecuted? Perhaps. Are there those in the black community who abhor this kind of behavior? Certainly. Are they sometimes unfairly implicated in things that are not their fault? Yes. Does the black community protest this kind of behavior and speak out against it? Usually not. A certain number of those who commit to violence and illegal behavior make those law abiding, responsible people look pretty bad and they end up either defending them or remaining silent because of their race. It has to stop sometime. But it won’t anytime soon.

Brosephus™ - Browning America Since 1973

September 20th, 2011
8:08 pm

If that Savannah cop had been your father would you feel any other way?

I’ve got an even better one for you…

http://off2dr.com/modules/extcal/event.php?event=322

The guy pictured in that link is a high school classmate of mine with whom I was pretty cool with. We didn’t hang in the same social circles, but we were school mates since 1st grade. One of the people he killed was Darrel Collier, who was the guy who gave me my first job and was a good friend of mine afterwards.

On the night of the robbery/murder, I was initially heading home from school, but a storm and lazyness caused me to change my mind at the last minute. Had I gone home, I would have been in that Popeye’s at the time of the robbery as it was my usual m.o. to go hang out with Darrel when I got home. I’m certain that had I been in there, I would have been the first one shot as I would have easily been able to identify the shooter.

Do I feel bad about his sentence? No. Tamika was actually pregnant, so he killed 4 people in my book. It doesn’t matter that it was people I knew personally, or even that I could have been another victim. There was irrefutable proof that he did it, so he has to pay the price.