This column is the sole opinion of the author. It does not necessarily represent the opinions of the RedEye staff, duPont Manual High School, its students, faculty or administration.
September 21, 2011 at 11:08 Troy Anthony Davis was executed in Jackson, Georgia. Troy Davis was convicted of killing officer Mark McPhail in Savannah, Georgia in 1989.
That Wednesday, hundreds of people protested outside the execution building. Protesters held signs saying “I am Troy Davis” and “Don’t let Georgia kill an innocent man.” #TooMuchDoubt and #WhoIsTroyDavis trended on Twitter, and people all across the country began to dissent.
So what’s the debate? Here we have a convicted murderer, a crime, and his sentence; justice right? That’s what the Georgia court system wants you to think, but under closer scrutiny there was more than enough evidence to prove his innocence.
Davis spent a total of 22 years incarcerated in the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification State prison where he was held on death row. During this time, Davis had been prepared to meet his fate in the execution room a total of three times prior to September 21. Each time he was granted a stay from the Supreme Court and his case was reviewed again. But according to the courts, these reviews and legal appeals failed to prove the innocence of 42 year old Davis and they proceeded with the execution.
A shocking ruling considering the evidence: 7 of the 9 affidavits were recanted, there was no DNA found, and no weapon recovered. Many influential supporters of Davis insisted he was innocent, including the NAACP, Amnesty International, former President Jimmy Carter, Pope Benedict XVI, Rev. Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and Bishop Desmond Tutu.
There have been a total of 124 inmates who have been released from death row based on new evidence that proves their innocence. This not only shows the fallbility of the initial court sentencing, but shows that the courts can and have released death row inmates on the account of new evidence and reasonable doubt.
The proceeding of the the Troy Davis execution was inexcusable. The lack of concrete evidence and recanting of testimonies was far more than enough to get him off death row. The execution was not only unjust, but also lacked consistency with other trials.
For instance, take the recent Casey Anthony trial. Anthony was tried for 1st degree murder of her two year old daughter, Caylee. But Anthony was acquitted, even though she was convicted of lying to police officers. The defense never showed any true evidence of Anthony being innocent, but yet they referred to the prosecutions evidence as “fantasy forensics.” Time Magazine referred to trial as the “social media trial of the century.” Anthony was never convicted because the prosecution could not prove beyond any reasonable doubt that she was the killer. This is how the court system was instructed to work by our founding fathers in the constitution.
If our justice system is going to enforce capital punishment, it should do so with equality and a more thorough judicial process; if not get rid of capital punishment all together. Our country was founded on the principle that all people are equal under law. If our system no longer enforces the priniples that have defined and structured it for centuries, the system itself cannot withstand. Remember, we all live under the same law, we are all Troy Davis.
Nycea Patterson is a Senior at DuPont Manual High School and one of the video editors for Manual RedEye. Specialties in writing and videography. Most of her pieces of work consist of the two.