It Is Likely We Have Executed Innocent People

istock_000001493056xsmall.jpg Troy Anthony Davis, the Death Penalty and Innocent Men

Most Americans have limited contact with the judicial system. For the most part, our contact with the courts usually amounts to an occasional interaction in traffic court or small claims court. Unless you are an attorney, law student, or are in some other way associated with the law, you generally have limited legal knowledge.

I have written a couple of pieces about Troy Anthony Davis a man convicted of murder who is scheduled to die by lethal injection on Monday October 27th. (since the writing of this article, Davis has received another stay of execution).

What many of you may not know is that this case has attracted international attention because evidence suggests Davis was wrongly convicted. The Pope, Former President Jimmy Carter, Congressional Representative John Lewis, Bishop Desmond Tutu, Amnesty International and hundreds of others believe now, after hearing what the courts have not heard, that Troy Anthony Davis could very well be innocent. They have issued letters of support and asked the Supreme Court to at least hear the appeal but to no avail.

Yesterday, on NPR there were a couple of interviews where this case was discussed. It is almost incomprehensible that this man will likely be executed without ever having his appeal heard.


Troy Anthony Davis

In September the U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay of execution just two hours before the execution was to occur. The reason the stay was issued was to give the Supreme Court time to determine if they would hear Davis’ appeal. The Supreme Court receives hundreds of appeals each year. It is at the courts discretion that it decides which ones will be heard. The court decided against hearing Davis’ appeal. Troy Davis (pictured here) has now been scheduled to die by lethal injection on Monday, October 27, 2008.

This case and hundreds like it beg the question, “Do we follow through with executions because procedure dictates even when there is a reasonable doubt of guilt?”. Virginia Sloan, Jeffrey Rosen and Robert Blecker, offered their opinions on this question in the NPR interview. It is well worth listening to.

Other sources of information on this topic follow. Many Americans will never hear about this tragic case. According to the Innocence Project , there are hundreds of other cases very much like this one. Mainstream Media does a great job keeping us underinformed and overentertained.

The Governor of Georgia can provide clemency. This is Troy Davis’ last hope. You can write to the Governor of Georgia by clicking here.

The video below is of Ray Krone, one of the hundreds who have been exonerated because of DNA evidence.

Finally, CNN did an interesting expose on death row that can be seen below:

Published by the LA Progressive on October 22, 2008
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About Sharon Kyle

Sharon Kyle, J.D. is the Publisher of the LA Progressive which she co-founded with her husband Dick Price. Ms. Kyle is an adjunct professor of law at Peoples College in Los Angeles. She sits on the board of the ACLU Pasadena/Foothills Chapter and is on the editorial board of the Photo courtesy Wadeva Images.