Next Monday, 19th. September, a final bid for clemency will be submitted to The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles in the case of Troy Davis who has been awaiting his execution for murder on death row since 1991 – that is twenty years, almost a life sentence in itself. He is still there in the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification State Prison but, this time, unless this call for clemency is granted, he will finally be put to death there next Wednesday, 21st September.
I happen to believe that he should not be executed even if he is guilty because premeditated state killings are dehumanising, immoral and degrading for society itself as well as being exceptionally cruel and fallible as a method of administrating justice.
Having said that, there seems to be added reason to be repulsed and distressed by this impending execution – primarily because much of the evidence is uncertain even unsound. There is no justice in executing the wrong man and no form of posthumous clemency can make amends.
Troy Davis is accused of murdering Mark MacPhail, a police officer from Savannah, Georgia and we should make sure that in the clamour for justice here, we do not forget the tragedy of his death. That should not, however, colour our judgement over the administration of the death penalty in this case. Mark MacPhail is not honoured if an innocent man dies for his murder. I don’t believe he is honoured, either, if the State of Georgia bloodies its hands in his case.
I am not a lawyer and I am not qualified to sit in judgement but it is surely enough to know that the principal witness at the trial was one Sylvester “Redd” Coles who is alleged to have bragged to people that he, himself, had shot a police officer but he was not called to the witness stand at the appeal hearing.
There are other aspects in this case that cast doubt on the original trial – enough to put doubt on Troy Davis’ conviction and therefore, more than enough reason to grant clemency and, at least, commute the sentence to one of life imprisonment.
Amnesty International is leading the movement against Troy Davis’ execution – it is not too late for you to add your voice to the growing cry of outrage and, hopefully, it is not to late to make a difference. Sign the petition here: