Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Is Executing an Innocent Person Cruel and Unusual Punishment?

Troy Davis, a black man, who was charged, tried and convicted in Georgia for murdering a white police officer was sentenced to death in 1991.

There was no physical evidence against Troy Davis. The weapon used in the crime was never found. The case against him consisted entirely of witness testimony. Seven of the nine non-police witnesses have recanted or contradicted their testimony. Many of these witnesses claimed they were coerced by police which resulted in fabricated testimony at trial. One of the two witnesses who has not recanted or contradicted testimony is Sylvester Coles, the principal alternative suspect. Nine individuals have signed affidavits implicating Sylvester Coles. Troy Davis has never had a hearing in federal court on the reliability of the witness testimony used against him.

Last month, after the Georgia Supreme Court denied Davis' appeal, the Davis defense asked the United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) to declare that the State violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment when it executes an innocent man. After initially delaying the Davis execution, SCOTUS is now refusing to declare that executing an innocent man violates the clause added to the Eighth Amendment.

“Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted”.
In other words, SCOTUS' lack of words, affirms that state sanctioned execution is commensurate with innocence or more precisely disenfranchised innocence.

So, while our "justice" system "debates" semantics or lack thereof, Troy Davis may suffer the "cruel and unusual" punishment of being executed as an innocent man on Monday, October 27.

1 comments:

Anonymous,  14:36  

You have to understand, that being poor, and then throwing black on top of that makes a man guilty until proven innocent beyond a shadow of a doubt, ...sometimes to the point that he deserves death.

Whereas, if you are a rich white man or even a rich black man (OJ) you are automatically innocent until PROVEN guilty.

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