Pages Menu
Categories Menu

Posted by on Sep 21, 2011 in Law, Society | 16 comments


“May God have mercy on your souls. May God bless your souls.” — Troy Davis’ last words to his executioners.

“I did not personally kill your son, father, brother. I am innocent.” — Troy Davis to victim’s family just before execution.

Devastating. Not unexpected.

SCOTUS rejected the stay. The order read simply:

The application for stay of execution of sentence of death
presented to Justice Thomas and by him referred to the Court is

The execution was carried out shortly after 11 p.m. EST. Text of the last-minute appeal denied by the court.

TPJustice, “The fact that there were no published dissents does not mean that all nine justices opposed the stay.”

HuffPost’s Jason Cherkis, final moments from the prison grounds:

Laura Moye, the organizer with Amnesty International, is still on the prison grounds. “We are just profoundly saddened and upset,” she said.

A prayer circle had formed around the Davis family earlier in the evening. It continues.

“We knew that it was a long shot,” Moye said. “Troy Davis has always had difficult odds. He’s faced executions three times…We always held on to our hope. We got this far by believing in the power of human rights. Now it seems there’s nothing that can intervene to stop this execution.”

There’s still a couple hundred protesters and Davis supporters in attendance. The chanting has died down. “People are trying to rally around this family. Everybody wants to be there standing in support of the Davis family,” Moye explained. “A lot of people standing in disbelief.”

“This case has really revealed to the world that we cannot continue with this system,” Amnesty International USA Executive Director Larry Cox said just now. “I think people know in their hearts that this is shameful.”


When the high court ordered the hearing last August, Justice John Paul Stevens noted that no state or federal court had heard Davis’ new testimony and assessed its reliability. “The substantial risk of putting an innocent man to death clearly provides an adequate justification for holding an evidentiary hearing,” wrote Stevens, who was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer.

Justice Antonin Scalia, joined by Justice Clarence Thomas, dissented, calling the hearing a “fool’s errand” because Davis’ innocence claim is “a sure loser.”

From tonight’s protest outside the Supreme Court:


A large, troubling?, police presence outside the Jackson Georgia Diagnostic Prison…

Andrew Cohen, chief legal analyst and legal editor for CBS News, in a long, important must read on modern capital punishment in America:

The legal compact demanded by the United States Supreme Court when it reinstituted capital punishment as a sentencing option in 1976 has been broken, repeatedly, not by convicts, but by hundreds of overzealous administrators of the nation’s justice systems. In Texas, Georgia, Florida, and in the other states which continue to push capital punishment, the “law” in capital cases now is mostly used as a weapon — not as a shield for the individual against the might of government. It is not justice under law. And it is certainly not equal justice under the law. It is instead far too often a perversion of justice — and of the Court’s well-meant  precedent…

Whether the trial witnesses against [Troy Davis] were lying then or are lying now, by fighting against his requested relief Georgia is saying that its interest in the finality of its capital judgments is more important than the accuracy of its capital verdicts… In their zeal to make good on cynical campaign promises to be “tough on crime,” in their pursuit of vengeance on behalf of grieving families, in their reckless disregard for the racial realities of capital punishment, elected or appointed proponents of the death penalty are in the process of ruining the mandate the Supreme Court gave them 35 years ago.

Really? She said that?

“It is killing me, to tell you the truth. I don’t know what to expect anymore,” said Anneliese MacPhail, mother of Mark MacPhail, the man Davis was convicted of killing in 1989.

Ta-Nehisi Coates points to the family of another murder victim, James C. Anderson, in Mississippi. Says he, This, too, is activism:

The sister of James C. Anderson is asking the district attorney to not seek the death penalty in her brother’s killing — an alleged hate crime. “Those responsible for James’ death not only ended the life of a talented and wonderful man,” Barbara Anderson Young wrote in her letter.

“They also have caused our family unspeakable pain and grief. But our loss will not be lessened by the state taking the life of another.” She quoted Coretta Scott King in explaining her opposition to capital punishment: “An evil deed is not redeemed by an evil deed of retaliation. Justice is never advanced in the taking of human life….”

Young wrote that the family’s opposition to the death penalty is “deeply rooted in our religious faith, a faith that was central in James’ life as well. Our Savior Jesus Christ rejected the old way of an eye for an eye and taught us instead to turn the other cheek. He died that we might have everlasting life and, in doing so, asked that the lives of the two common criminals nailed to the crosses beside him be spared. We can do no less.”

Young said the family also oppose any execution “because it historically has been used in Mississippi and the South primarily against people of color for killing whites. Executing James’ killers will not help to balance the scales. But sparing them may help to spark a dialogue that one day will lead to the elimination of capital punishment.”

The death penalty and the South:

Since 1976, there have been four times as many executions in the South as in the rest of the country combined. Texas alone has accounted for nearly 40% of all U.S. executions in that period; together with Virginia, it accounts for almost half. Texas executed 17 last year; California, with more people and more crimes, has executed a total of 13 since 1976.

The NYTimes editorial board calls it a grievous wrong.

Dahlia Lithwick in Slate, Will the uncertainty in his case lead to uncertainty about the death penalty?

Whatever else it may come to mean, and whenever it happens, the execution of Troy Davis by the state of Georgia could stand for the proposition that the death penalty in America is finally dying. That’s because the fight over the death penalty is now happening in public, at the grassroots, and with reason triumphing over emotion. In the debate over capital punishment, the desire for certainty is finally beginning to carry as much weight as the need for finality. Americans are asking not so much whether this particular prisoner should be killed as whether this whole capital system is fair…

Advances in science and the empirical research on erroneous convictions are only going to create more doubt in the future. There is an almost unlimited supply of prosecutorial error and misconduct to draw on, and as it grows so will public uncertainty. And as the new media and social media broaden the debate about the death penalty, the folks who are leery of that uncertainty are ever more likely to be heard. America’s conversation over capital punishment has long been weighted toward the interests of finality. But there is a growing space for reason and doubt and scientific certainty. It’s hardly a surprise that prosecutors, courts, and clemency boards favor finality over certainty. That—after all—is the product they must show at the end of the day. But maybe the surprise, and the faint hope, of the massive outcry over the execution of Troy Davis, is that the rest of us have found a way to demand more from a system that has—for too long—only needed to be good enough.


ABC News reports the delay:

At 7:05 p.m., five minutes after his scheduled death, Davis’ supporters erupted in cheers, hugs and tears outside the jail in Jackson, Ga., as supporters believed Davis had been saved from the death penalty. But Davis was granted only a temporary reprieve as the Supreme Court considers the decision.

The warrant for Davis’ execution is valid until Sept. 28. The Georgia Resource Center, part of Davis’ legal defense team, said it was unsure how long the delay would last.


The appeal to the Supreme Court was one of several last-ditch efforts by Mr. Davis on Wednesday. Earlier in the day, an official of the N.A.A.C.P. said that the vote by the Georgia parole board to deny clemency to Mr. Davis, who is black, was so close that he hoped there might still be a chance to save him from execution.

Edward O. DuBose, president of the Georgia chapter, said the organization had “very reliable information from the board members directly that the board was split 3 to 2 on whether to grant clemency.”

“The fact that that kind of division was in the room is even more of a sign that there is a strong possibility to save Troy’s life,” he said. …

Mr. Davis, who has refused a last meal, was in good spirits and prayerful, said Wende Gozan Brown, a spokeswoman for Amnesty International, who visited Mr. Davis on Tuesday.

He told her that his death was for all the Troy Davises who came before and after him.

“I will not stop fighting until I’ve taken my last breath,” he said in a conversation relayed by Ms. Brown. “Georgia is prepared to snuff out the life of an innocent man.”

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2011 The Moderate Voice
Twitter Auto Publish Powered By :