Sunday, September 18, 2011
Same Song, 4th Verse: Don't Kill Troy Davis
Three years ago -- almost to the day -- I first heard and blogged about Troy Davis. And here he is, having been on death row for nineteen years, facing execution once more (for the fourth time) on Wednesday, while a horrified world watches. The Atlanta Journal Constitution says the case has been "perhaps the most extraordinary and controversial legal odyssey in the state’s history."
Despite the fact that most of the family of the police officer Davis was convicted of shooting to death twenty-two years ago still hold fast to the idea that he is, in fact, guilty, seven of the nine "witnesses" recanted their original testimony in 2003. One of the remaining "witnesses" is, unsurprisingly, a guy who is said to have confessed to his family and friends that he was the one who actually committed the murder. These folks have come forward and signed sworn statements, which would seem to make a difference in the state's commitment to kill Troy Davis, but such is not the case.
On Thursday, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles received a petition signed by more than 600,000 people pleading for Davis' life while protests and demonstrations of all kinds are occurring all over the world. Besides Amnesty International and the usual batch of death penalty detractors like Color of Change, a wide-ranging host of other important Davis supporters include former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Pope Benedict XVI, former Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Norman Fletcher, former FBI Director William Sessions, the Dalai Lama, and sixties radical Angela Davis.
The Pardon and Parole Board, which has the ability to commute Troy Davis' sentence to life in prison, has agreed to hold a hearing Monday to consider whether or not to stop the execution based on the new information. Even three of the jurors who originally voted to sentence Davis to death want to testify at the hearing that they now think Davis should be spared, saying that if they had known what is now known about the case, they never would have felt able to convict Davis "beyond a shadow of doubt," and would most certainly not have recommended the death penalty.
One can only imagine what must be going through Troy Davis' mind tonight as he prepares himself emotionally and psychologically for what may -- or may not -- happen at tomorrow's hearing. Wednesday is right around the corner. If an innocent person can be executed by the authorities in this country, then none of us is safe.
NOTE: For more insights into the Troy Davis case and the White Supremacist system of "justice" in America, read what Brotha Wolf has to say on the matter.
UPDATE: According to the New York Times this morning, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles has ruled that Troy Anthony Davis should die tomorrow. So there we have it. I'm speechless.