Pardons Board Denies Clemency for Death Row Inmate

UPDATE: Troy Davis’ execution was carried out as scheduled (a bit late, actually, waiting for a stay that did not come) Wednesday evening in Georgia. The execution was attended by MacPhail’s son and brother. MacPhail’s mother is hoping to find the peace she’s been waiting for for 22 years dismissing Davis’ final declaration of innocence. For her sake, I hope he was guilty.
Elsewhere in the world (Huntsville, TX), Lawrence Brewer, was also executed Wednesday evening. Lawrence Brewer, a white supremacist gang member, had been convicted of the gruesome hate crime and dragging death of James Byrd, Jr. Byrd was chained to the back of a pick up and dragged to his death.

I’m sure there are others. If we allow enough hate in our hearts to genuinely wish another man dead, how are we different? I don’t know, man. I just don’t know.


Davis / MacPhail

This story caught my eye today: Georgia Pardons Board has denied clemency for death row inmate, Troy Davis, despite widespread support for the claim that he was wrongly convicted of killing a police officer, Mark MacPhail, in 1989. He will be put to death by lethal injection on Wednesday September 21, 2011 at approximately 7pm.

The Death Penalty: Putting Innocent and Guilty Men to Death Hoping God Will Sort Out the Little Details

For those of you who say you do not want to pay for the cushy lifestyle of “3 hots and a cot” for the duration of the inmates’ internment and would much rather free up space with a little execution, you bore me. The point is tired.

The death penalty is the most expensive part of the system on a per-offender basis. Millions are spent to achieve a single death sentence that, even if imposed, is unlikely to be carried out. Thus money that the police desperately need for more effective law enforcement may be wasted on the death penalty,” says Richard C. Dieter, MS, JD, Executive Director of the Death Penalty Information Center. Right? I mean, they’ve been saying this for years.

It offends my moral sensibilities that one could be so flip about why it might be okay to end the life of another. “I’m not interested in footing your bill and so you must die.”

Little bit o' bible. Little bit o' hate.

The family of the murdered police officer say the denial of clemency is what they were hoping for and that they “wanted to get it over with, and for him to get his punishment.” Don’t you owe it to the victim to ensure the right person is held accountable? Don’t you owe it to yourselves to make sure he is the one you want before you pump poison into his veins? Once executed, then what?

For me, the chance is too high that someone innocent is convicted of a crime they did not commit and when the punishment for that crime is death there is no room for error. In Spite of Innocence: Erroneous Convictions in Capital Cases, by Radelet, Bedau and Putnam  reviews over 400 (416 to be exact) cases of people wrongly convicted of crimes which carry death penalty sentences. Esteemed (insert: finger quotes)Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia states, “This court has never held that the Constitution forbids the execution of a convicted defendant who has had a full and fair trial but is later able to convince a court that he is ‘actually’ innocent.” (Uhm, what the fuh?) So let’s not pretend miscarriages of justice do not happen or happen sparingly or can even be corrected so long as the trial was “full and fair”.

I do not know if Troy Davis is innocent or if he brutally murdered Mark MacPhail in the parking lot of Burger King for no more reason than because he had a gun and he was angry. I can not even begin to know how victims, and families of, deal with the fall out of horrific crimes committed against them. There just has to be a better way to do things than sentencing a man to die and crowding into a room to watch him take his last breath. It seems barbaric to me.