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Tag Archives: Capital punishment

The Troy Davis Death Penalty Case: It Helps to Know the Whole Story

I am not a supporter of the death penalty, so I wanted Troy Davis’ death sentence to be commuted on those grounds, for starters.  Then, over the last few months and years, many of us have heard things that seemed to make the case for Davis to be spared, and possibly be innocent.  The other day, discussing the case among my Facebook crew, I stated that I really need to get up to speed on what appeals courts look at when a case comes before them.  I figured that maybe, I’m relying too much on just the anecdotal information being put forth in the news, mainly by people who support his innocence.

Interestingly enough, I came across a piece by Erick Erickson, radio talking head and editor at Redstate.com, where he lays out the case.  It was just the information dump I was looking for and made me come to a simple conclusion–Troy Davis was guilty as charged.

What he points out make arguing to the contrary very difficult.  There were three Air Force airmen who were firsthand witnesses to the murder.  Troy Davis had Officer McPhail’s blood on his clothes.  Davis had a .38 that had been linked to a previous crime, and a .38 is what was used to kill Officer McPhail.

But there were two p0ints he made that really jumped out at me in this case that really point to Davis’ guilt:

For the first time in 50 years the United States Supreme Court ordered a federal court to conduct an entire rehearing of all the evidence. The court did and found all the new stuff was, again, “smoke and mirrors,” including the retracted confessions. And while building the case to claim that Sylvester Coles was the real murderer, the defense would not call Coles in for examination.

One would presume that with all the reviews of evidence and the rehearing, one of the courts would raise a fuss if there was a chance he wasn’t guilty.  None did.  Then, the second thing:

MacPhail reported in that he had run passed Sylvester Coles. MacPhail was shot from the front in the chest and face — not from behind where Coles was, but from the front where MacPhail himself located Troy Davis.

That one is hard to shoot down.

You can read the entire piece here.

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Is the Death Penalty Really Necessary?

I’m sure a lot of my conservative pals will completely disagree with me, but it’s past time that we got rid of the death penalty in America.

3  states–New York, New Jersey, and New Mexico–have done just that in the past 2 years.  Recently, Illinois joined the club

The governor of Illinois signed a law on Wednesday ending capital punishment, saying it was impossible to fix a system that wrongly condemned 20 men who were later found to be innocent.

When the law signed by Democratic Governor Pat Quinn takes effect on July 1, Illinois will become the fourth state in the past two years to dispense with the death penalty after New York, New Jersey and New Mexico.

“To have a consistent, perfect death penalty system … that’s impossible in our state,” Quinn told reporters. “I think it’s the right and just thing to abolish the death penalty and punish those who commit heinous crimes — evil people — with life in prison without parole and no chance of release.”

The ultimate punishment will remain an option in 34 states and for federal inmates. No other Western democracies carries out executions.

Anybody catch that last line? We are the only Democratic nation in the West that puts people to death. That really jumps out at me. I’m sure folks will say that just means the other countries are soft, but does it?

Aside from that, here are my other reasons why we should abolish it across the board:

1.  It’s  not a deterrent for crime

If someone could show me that the possibility of getting the death penalty has stopped someone from committing murder (which is typically the level of crime that nets execution), then I may be open to changing my mind.  I don’t believe the stats exist.  People will still kill.  They will still maim, assault, ect.  The death penalty just isn’t something that sticks in the mind of someone about to do something bad.

2.  It’s not necessary

Back in the old days, I’m sure that it was easier for criminals to escape from jail and go back to doing whatever it was they were doing in the first place.  Now?  Escape is a rare occurrence.  The logic behind having a death penalty is to ensure that the criminal never gets back into the general population to become a menace again.  You going to tell me sending someone to a supermax prison doesn’t do the same thing?

3.  Its costly

I’m sure this reason may get dismissed out of hand, but do the research.  It costs more for the state to pay for dealing with the appeals process involved with someone on death row than it does to actually house them as an inmate.

4.  Its barbaric

Every time I hear “Death Penalty” and “closure” used in the same sentence, i cringe.  I’m not ridiculing those who lose someone and feel the only way they can get closure is if the person responsible is put to death.  No, I have a problem with the fact that no one has told them “an eye for an eye” doesn’t work.  To put it bluntly, killing the murderer does not bring back that person’s loved one.  Closure comes in accepting that that person is gone.  As for “justice,” to me justice is making that murderer live the rest of their natural life knowing they no longer have freedom because of their crime.

I would be interested in hearing a case for the other side of this discussion.  But under the circumstances given, other than “it’s justice,” I don’t forsee much coming from the other side in this.