Tuesday, October 14, 2008


The US Supreme Court denied Troy Davis' cert petition today. I guess I can't really be surprised, but I can be disappointed. Technically, the standard of review at every level now is against granting Mr. Davis relief. He has been duly convicted by a jury at a trial. He has had appellate review of that trial and further review of his counsel's performance. It's certainly easy for everyone to hide behind all that and say simply that he's had all the process he's due, so there is no reason to prevent the state from executing him. Except that there's lots of evidence a jury never heard that suggests someone else pulled the trigger. And many of the eyewitnesses who id'd Mr. Davis as the shooter say they were pressured to make those ids. So what good is all that damn process if we have more questions about his guilt or innocence now than we did before his trial?

At some point, someone just has to stop hiding behind procedure and do the right thing. Somebody, a judge, a pardon board, a governor: someone has to find the courage to be the one (or ones) to stop this from happening. Where's the judge who freed Reuben "Hurricane" Carter when we need him? That federal judge would have had the full weight of procedure on his side if he'd decided to deny Carter relief. But he didn't hide behind that. He saw a manifest injustice come into his courtroom and he decided to fix it. He went out on a limb, all by his lonely self, and did the right thing.

It's an absolute tragedy that no one has been willing to stand up and do the same for Troy Davis.


Anonymous said...


S said...

It's like everyone who gets the case in front of them wants to pass the responsibility on to someone else. They don't want the "tough on crime" crowd to be mad at them for letting a criminal off the hook.

But if nobody takes the responsibility for at least giving the guy a new trial, every single one of them will all bear responsibility for killing a man who is quite probably innocent.

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