Troy Davis, the Georgia man convicted of murder on questionable evidence two decades ago, has just been executed by state prison officials, we’re hearing.
Attorneys for Davis, who abolitionists have been fiercely rallying to save, had asked the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene and grant an eleventh-hour stay only hours ago. Sadly, the court refused, giving Georgia the go-ahead to put Davis to death.
Davis, who has always maintained his innocence, was originally scheduled to be killed several years ago, but his attorneys successfully forced the state to put off its immoral plans to kill him by challenging his death sentence in court.
Outrageously, none of the courts or parole authorities who heard the appeals filed by Davis’ lawyers were willing to intervene to save his life. Consequently, the state has just put a man to death simply because a jury decided some years ago that he committed a crime and should lose his life as a punishment — and nobody with the legal authority to overturn that verdict has had the courage or willingness to do so.
Davis’ killing is most definitely a travesty. But the bigger travesty, in our eyes, is the failure of our justice system to stop it. There is no question that humans make mistakes — this is an indisputable truth that we know about ourselves. We are capable of making mistakes as individuals and also as groups. Any witness, jury, or judge can make a mistake because all witnesses, juries, and judges are human.
The evidence that the prosecution originally presented in Davis’ case has been clearly shown to have been flawed. Seven of the nine witnesses called by the prosecution recanted part or all of their testimony, we understand. And yet, Davis’ conviction was not overturned. It could have been, and it should have been.
But it wasn’t.
The cause of justice is not served by America’s use of the antiquated, immoral “eye for an eye” principle from the Code of Hammurabi. It is time for us as a people to stop permitting our government to act like an oppressive regime and stop playing God. The death penalty is immoral and barbaric.
It can and it must be outlawed.
The United States of America cannot be a beacon for human rights and civil rights as long as it is putting people to death. Especially innocent people.
Tonight, we extend a prayer for Troy Davis and his family, the victims of a broken justice system. And we reaffirm our steadfast commitment to achieving the total and complete abolition of capital punishment in every U.S. jurisdiction.