Thursday, September 22, 2011

Troy Davis

Very saddened by the execution of Troy Davis.  As a citizen, one can agree the state should be able to execute humans on one's behalf, or not agree. I don't agree.

I wouldn't say I was certain Davis was innocent. I didn't read about any evidence that completely  exonerated him. But his arrest & trial, the investigation & prosecution, cast reasonable doubt all over his case.

We know innocent people have been executed because of the number of death row inmates exonerated through DNA evidence. If you reason that it's acceptable to execute the occasional innocent person in order to ensure the capital punishment of the guilty, you ought to ask yourself what percentage of innocent is acceptable?  Then  apply the standard to some situation in which you are the innocent person serving that purpose of   a supposed greater justice.  Say to cover up a faulty model of  radar gun, or an unreliable DWI test, or the profiling of dark-skinned people at police road checks, or even an inaccurate parking meter that gives 55 minutes for an hour worth of change.   All of which, by-the-way, have been taken to the courts & won by private citizens who had a lot less to lose than their lives. The radar gun did catch actual speeders, the DWI test nabbed some drunk drivers, the profiling caught some fugitives wanted on outstanding warrants, & you shouldn't wait until  the last minute to feed the parking meter. You're just the unlucky exception caught in the wheels of justice, so stiffen up & take it as a price of law & order.

It makes economic sense to abolish the death penalty.  It costs twice as much in basic expenses  to incarcerate a prisoner sentenced to death. The State pays for up to two decades of appeals  that can amount to millions of dollars  in legal fees for the inmate & the costs of upholding conviction.  The motives for fighting appeals aren't always to preserve justice; they may be to protect careers, cover up shabby police investigations, & prevent the exposure of  incompetent legal representation for poor people unable to afford  quality  criminal defense attorneys. Taxpayers pay less for life sentences.
An especially gruesome, heinous double murder is being tried in Connecticut right now. Home invasion, sexual assaults & murders of a mother &  her teen &  preteen daughters, the perps burned the house in an attempt to destroy  evidence. It's a death penalty crime if there ever was one. One murderer already convicted & sentenced to death,  the prosecution has a tight case against the other. But is this a  one--in-five, or one-in-ten example in terms of the level of brutality & the weight of evidence? A sociopathic racist was executed in Texas this week for dragging a black man behind a truck. No one seems to have protested that one. I'm saying that I would give even these vicious criminals life without parole if that's what it takes to keep one innocent person out of the execution chamber.

I don't like the company we keep among most active death penalty nations: China, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia.  In the Americas, only the United States has carried out executions over the past two years.

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"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." Thomas Jefferson

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