Troy Davis Executed

 Seven of nine statements recanted. No physical evidence at the crime scene. More than one million signatures on a petition for clemency.

Despite this, the execution process of Troy Davis inexorably began on September 21st at 10:53 PM. He was pronounced dead at 11:08. Troy Davis paid the ultimate price for a crime that many believe that he did not commit.

Davis was convicted of murdering an off-duty police officer named Mark McPhail in 1989. Officer MacPhail, a former army ranger, was fatally shot twice as he attempted to alleviate a situation between a man alleged to be Troy Davis and two other individuals.

Since his conviction in 1991, Troy Davis’s execution date has been rescheduled four times. At the time of his fifth evidentiary hearing in June 2010, seven affidavits of the nine key witnesses were altered, with many testimonials being recanted. However, the court granted these reevaluations little weight. Regardless of the numerous Supreme Court appeals for clemency, the court remained adamant in it’s original decision to punish Mr. Davis with the death penalty.

Capital punishment (aka the death penalty) is a controversial edifice that has been dismantled in practically every developed nation other than the United States. Many have considered the swift denial of Troy Davis’ clemency a grievous failure of a “legal safety valve,” leaving scores of individuals in protest. As aforementioned, more than 1,000,000 petitioned for Troy Davis to receive clemency, including Pope Benedict XVI, former president Jimmy Carter and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Despite this wave of support for Davis’s execution to be reconsidered, the Board of Pardons and Paroles remained obstinately inactive.

There have been very few death penalty instances that have made quite as many headlines as the Troy Davis case. After all, like Davis, the overwhelming majority of death row inmates cling to their innocence until death. Did Troy Davis really murder Mark PcPhail? We may never know for sure, however, the case has opened the floor for a much larger argument that has already engulfed the nation in fierce debate for decades. Is there still room for the death penalty in the United States?

During the last decade, Troy Davis’s case has certainly brought large-scale media attention to this dispute. The case has gained serious exposure from organizations such as Amnesty International, a tremendous proponent of anti-death penalty movements. However, one of largest problems that arises in fighting the death penalty is that, in the United States, it is a states rights issue. That means that each of the 34 states which currently allow capital punishment would have to undertake individual action in order to dispose of it. This will most likely not happen in the near future, considering that only a few months ago legislature to eliminate the death penalty was proposed to Connecticut’s own congress, and promptly turned down. Although Troy Davis’ case has left many unanswered questions; one thing is certain. Capital punishment will remain in the United States for quite some time, unless fierce political lobbying occurs.

 Andrew Walker, Staff Writer


Posted by on September 27, 2011. Filed under World News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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