Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Troy Davis Execution

I was going to write something about this execution, but John Hawkins of Right Wing News did it for me in his post at Huffington Post called, "Why Do Liberals Have Such a Soft Spot for Cop Killers Like Troy Davis?" Here are some of the key points.
We have a justice system that is already ridiculously slanted against the death penalty. It usually takes decades of appeals and retrials to put anyone to death, no matter how ironclad the evidence is against him. Despite farfetched claims that large numbers of innocent men have been put to death, there's actually no solid evidence that an innocent man has been executed in this country in the last fifty years. ... Liberals don't like the death penalty; so they are desperate to find proof that innocent men have been executed and there are people who are willing to make money providing that evidence, no matter how far they have to stretch to deliver it.
And the weight of evidence for Troy Davis' guilt is so great that despite all those years of appeals and efforts to overturn the verdict, or lessen the penalty, not a single court was willing to do so.
despite the incredibly slanted accounts you may have read, Troy Davis is not one of these mistakes. More than a dozen courts looked at the trial and came to that conclusion -- and no wonder. Davis shot a cop to death in public. There were 34 witnesses at the trial. Some of them were strangers. Some of them were friends of Davis. To this day, there are several people, some strangers and some former friends, who said they saw Davis shoot Officer Mark MacPhail and haven't recanted. How many eyewitnesses to a murder should you need to convict someone?
There's one other thing that Hawkins doesn't mention regarding the Supreme Court's refusal to stay the execution. There are outspoken liberals on that court, who have not been shy in expressing opposition to other executions.
In late June, for example, the court cleared the way for a Mexican national to be executed in Texas over the objections of the State Department, but the decision came on a 5-4 vote. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan disagreed.

No dissents were recorded in the Davis case. About 10:20 p.m., the court released a one-line order saying that the “application for stay of execution of sentence of death presented to Justice Thomas and by him referred to the court is denied.”
Despite all the pro-Davis propaganda, it apparently didn't even convince the liberal members of the Supreme Court. The overwhelming weight of the evidence is that Troy Davis was a murderer and was justly executed.


For those who might think I'm a reflexive, ideological defender of the death penalty in every case, I should point out that back in 2009 I wrote a post arguing that the Troy Davis case was a bad use of the death penalty. But, that's because I was uninformed about many details. As is sometimes the case in blogging, I was offering a quick take based on my reading of one op-ed which presented a skewed picture. A commenter pointed that out, which eventually led to me reversing my opinion.

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