Troy Davis

What's Wrong With Capital Punishment

THE STATE OF Georgia executed Troy Davis at 10:53 p.m. on a Wednesday in September, by lethal injection. It took him 16 minutes to die. By the next morning there was fresh graffiti scrawled across a wall in my neighborhood: “Troy Davis was murdered.”

Sometimes the very stones cry out.

Nearly a million people worldwide signed Amnesty International’s petition urging authorities in Georgia to commute Davis’ death sentence.

Davis spent 20 years—nearly half his life—on death row for a crime it’s doubtful he committed, and the penal system ground inexorably forward. No one could stop it. Not Davis’ family. Not lawyers, protesters, or petition signers. Not the six prison officials who expressed “overwhelming concern that an innocent person could be executed in Georgia.” Not the Georgia governor. Not former president Jimmy Carter, nor William Sessions, director of the FBI under President Reagan. Not even the pope. No one.

Davis addressed his final words to murder victim Mark MacPhail’s family who sat in the front row at the execution. “I know you all are still convinced that I’m the person who killed your father, your son, and your brother—but I am innocent ... I am so sorry for your loss. I really am. Sincerely.”

TROY DAVIS COULDN’T get a stay of execution—despite substantial new evidence supporting his innocence—in part because of the federal Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act. The Act was part of the Republican “Contract with America” signed into law in 1996 by President Clinton, who was pushed to bring a speedy and lethal conclusion to domestic terrorist Timothy McVeigh.

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Justice Delayed? Death Penalty for California Salon Massacre May Mean Waiting for a Generation

Scott Dekraai's mug shot after his arrest in the Seal Beach salon slayings.
Scott Dekraai's mug shot after his arrest in the Seal Beach salon slayings.

Tony Rackauckas, Orange County District Attorney, held a press conference to announce his intent to seek the death penalty for Scott Dekraai, who killed his ex-wife and seven others at Salon Meritage in Seal Beach on Oct. 12.
“There are some cases that are so depraved, so callous, so malignant that there is only one punishment that might have any chance of fitting the crime," said Rackauckas. “When a person, in a case like this, goes on a rampage and kills innocent people in an indiscriminate bloody massacre, I will of course seek the death penalty.”

He added, “This is the only way our society can get anything approaching justice for the victims, their families, the town of Seal Beach, and the larger community.”

If justice means putting Dekraai on a gurney and executing him, the victims, their families and everyone else hoping for that outcome should face the cold hard fact that they are in for a long wait.

Voices from the Web (and World): Responses to the Troy Davis Execution

troy-davi-amnest-intl-photo"Continuing a cycle of violence through state-sanctioned actions does not bring justice but only creates a culture of death and retribution. As a pro-life Christian, I believe the execution of Troy Davis shows a failure of moral leadership by both our country and the state of Georgia. The doubt surrounding the case of Troy Davis has served as a wake-up call to many in this country that our justice system is flawed and should not hold the power of life and death over any person. Justice should restore and heal, not destroy." -- Sojourners CEO Jim Wallis statement today, Friday Sept. 23

Afternoon Philosofail

2308371224_60e0cda6e8If you're anything like me, reading this brief entry from Ian Millhiser at titled, "Scalia says there's nothing unconstitutional about executing the innocent," will no doubt do more to raise your blood pressure than the afternoon latte you were just contemplating.

BREAKING NEWS: Georgia Parole Board Denies Davis' Plea for Clemency

troy-davi-amnest-intl-photoDavis is set to die on Wednesday for the killing of off-duty Savannah officer Mark MacPhail, who was slain while rushing to help a homeless man being attacked. It is the fourth time in four years his execution has been scheduled by Georgia officials...The decision appeared to leave Davis with little chance of avoiding the execution date. Defense attorney Jason Ewart has said that the pardons board was likely Davis' last option.