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  • Writer's pictureDearbhla

Troy Davis: Executed in the Name of American Justice

Troy Davis' execution was based on two races: colour and the expedited need to find a cop killer.

Today is a sad day for justice in America. A nation that preaches liberty and justice for all has done exactly the opposite by sentencing a man to death without appropriate evidential support. Apparently in America you don’t even need evidence to prove a crime, which doesn’t bode well for the future of the ‘Land of the Free’. Does America really want to leave a legacy of a system that murders potentially innocent people? I doubt Troy Davis would take America’s view of ‘freedom’ as lightly as those flipping the switch.

Accused of shooting police officer Mark Mac Phail in 1989, Davis was eventually convicted in 1991; for a crime he maintains he didn’t commit. Surely the evidence was irrefutable? For someone to be even considered for death row surely there should be no uncertainty surrounding his or her crime? They would want to be pretty adamant they had the right guy behind bars. Or so you would think. Apparently that’s not the way the American judicial system works.

Davis wasn’t even allowed take a polygraph test. There was no forensic evidence provided before, during or after the case and he has repeatedly been denied retrial as he was unable to adequately “prove his innocence”. Perhaps I am mistaken but is this not for the courts to prove? Particularly when a death sentence is the final destination for the accused? Seven of the nine ‘witnesses’ have since recanted their testimonies with a few stating police coercion was the reason they named Davis in the initial proceedings. Does the law not provide for guilt beyond a reasonable doubt? Especially when the entire basis for their conviction relied on eye witness testimonies?

The puritanical rantings of American politicians have left a very sour taste in our mouths. Playing God is not something we in Europe are partial to and you can be damn sure we take care there’s at least a smidgen of evidence linking someone to a crime before we let them rot in prison for twenty years. Was Troy Davis’s life worth less than another’s? So much less that the judicial system couldn’t take time out to review the mounting evidence which pointed towards the first witness by the name of Sylvester Coles. A witness, it was revealed, owned the same type of gun that shot Mac Phail. A witness who, according to one Quiana Glover, admitted that he himself shot Mac Phail. Apparently the lawyers were out sick the day all of this came to light.

When Casey Anthony, a mother accused of murdering her child, was released as a result of proof beyond a reasonable doubt (despite an abundance of evidence) you start to wonder about the fairness of the legal system. And yes, the lingering question on everyone’s lips - is it because he was a black man who was once charged with gun possession? Not an unreasonable assumption given Anthony's not guilty verdict.

I find it very difficult to understand why a man is being pushed down the gangplank in the name of American justice when everything America claim they stand for has been shot to hell. As far as I’m aware ‘thou shalt not kill’ is still one of the Ten Commandments and I’m pretty sure God didn’t submit a last minute memo stating that it was O.K. to kill if the person you are killing is a murderer. Or in this case, a potential murderer. Even if Davis is guilty does he not deserve a chance to prove his innocence?


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