Last night, a man named Troy Davis was due to be executed in Georgia for murder. There is no forensic evidence and most of the witnesses have recanted their statements. Two hours before he would be put to death, the Supreme Court issued a stay of execution. You can see the full story here:
I was very relieved to wake this Wednesday morning and see that this stay was granted. I am a big supporter of overhauling the death penalty if not abolishing it completely. Too many innocent people have died: see Illinois and former Gov. Ryan’s moratorium on the death penalty. My uncertainty on the issue comes with the most heinous of crimes where innocence is not in question and children are involved. The act of murdering a child invokes ire in me that no other act can. But, to what end does the guilty person’s execution serve? I’m not sure.
I have studied many high- and low-profile murder cases as well as forensics, and my studies show me that our death penalty system is severely flawed and dangerous. No new revelation really. According to BBC News, McCain would likely expand the death penalty. Pro-life? Hardly.
Even if Davis is guilty, because the evidence is so weak, it’s important that he receives another trial. More actions like this will further ensure that we do not hastily execute more innocent men and women. Several wrongly accused people have been released from death row in the last year because DNA or new evidence proved their innocence, which they maintained from day one (unless ruthlessly coerced). See Texas.
How many innocent people have died? How many more?
Now, the race issue: I often feel it is overused, which demoralizes instances when it is in fact in question. Here, I’m not so sure it isn’t. This is in Savannah, Georgia after all, and to deny that race is not an issue there or anywhere else is to be in deep denial. The lack of evidence and accountable witnesses in this case have long demanded a second trial for this man, but the local authorities have refused to bend, to admit they might be wrong even though the Pope, Desmond Tutu, and former President Jimmy Carter have supported a stay. That is quite disturbing to me. It is indeed very dangerous to maintain a firmly closed mind on any issue. It is possible to be wrong. That’s why we are called humans and not gods.
I do not know for fact that he is innocent, but for the preservation of future innocent lives, this stay of execution was absolutely necessary.
For a Germany tie-in, Germany does not allow capital punishment except for high crimes—as I understand it. I’m still reading up on this.
P.S. For a story on a man recently exonerated (not on death row) in Michigan, listen to the story below. My good friend, Celeste Headlee, produced this for NPR. These men are lacking in help rebuilding their lives.
AND, for a look at a pro-life Christian’s perspective on the upcoming election, go to the link below. This guy and his father helped invent the conservative, evangelical political platform. He’s independent now. Very interesting.