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Troy Davis Execution Unjust

Cara Palmer |
September 22, 2011 | 8:44 p.m. PDT

Senior Editor

(Javacolleen, Creative Commons)
(Javacolleen, Creative Commons)
The execution of Troy Davis provides yet another example of the weakness in our justice system. That a man, whose culpability in a crime for which he was convicted was assailed by a multitude of doubts, was still executed, illustrates that we have a terminally flawed system of justice.

The lack of evidence supporting the conviction, and the lack of evidence supporting the belief that Davis was, in fact, guilty, provided more than enough reasonable doubt as to his culpability. Russell Simmons of The Huffington Post wrote:

“If you can't prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt then you CAN’T kill this man…Is our bloodlust so great that we have to ignore all statements of doubt by those who have looked long and hard at the case and apply the cruelest punishment of all – death – which can never be remedied?”

The court could have allowed his case to be heard again. It could have kept him alive. Officials, however, chose to execute him despite reasonable doubt surrounding the case.

Death is final.

With the death penalty employed as it is – misguidedly – there is no justice in the justice system. Several well-known, widely respected figures have spoken out against the treatment of Troy Davis, including the Pope and Jimmy Carter.

“If one of our fellow citizens can be executed with so much doubt surrounding his guilt, then the death penalty system in our country is unjust and outdated,” said former President Jimmy Carter.

Carter expressed a hope that “this tragedy will spur us as a nation toward the total rejection of capital punishment.”

The system of capital punishment must ultimately be rejected, as it does not serve the interests of either justice or human rights. No government has the right to take the lives of its citizens, innocent or guilty. Allowing the government power to decide who lives and who dies will only result in more injustices, because such a system is susceptible to human fallibility. With lives at stake, it is not worth the risk.

Troy Davis wrote a letter when he was facing execution in 2008. In it, he wrote:

“…no matter what happens in the days, weeks to come, this movement to end the death penalty, to seek true justice, to expose a system that fails to protect the innocent must be accelerated. There are so many more Troy Davis’. This fight to end the death penalty is not won or lost through me but through our strength to move forward and save every innocent person in captivity around the globe. We need to dismantle this unjust system city by city, state by state and country by country.”


Reach Senior Opinion Editor Cara Palmer here or follow her on Twitter.



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