Another possibly innocent person is slated for execution today, this time by lethal injection in the state of Georgia. Troy Davis was convicted of murdering a Savannah police officer in 1989, but he has always maintained his innocence. There is no DNA evidence linking him to the crime and prosecution witnesses have now claimed they were coerced and recanted their testimony. Davis has many supporters around the world, including Pope Benedict and Desmond Tutu. Even Georgia's former governor (and our former chief executive) Jimmy Carter has doubts about Davis's guilt, but no real clout when it comes to imposing the ultimate punishment. Nevertheless, he says, "this case illustrates the deep flaws in the application of the death penalty in this country." The Christian Science Monitor states that the case raises serious questions about whether or not what's known as "executive clemency" is an "adequate fail-safe for assessing death-row innocence claims." Troy Davis is scheduled to die at 7:00 tonight, unless the U.S. Supreme Court intervenes, which is highly unlikely. However, the Court did get involved in the Davis case in 2009, when it required the Georgia district court to examine new evidence and make a finding of fact concerning guilt or innocence. According to Cathleen Burnett in the book Wrongful Death Sentences: "It may be that a majority of the Supreme Court justices are now willing to state that the Eighth Amendment bars the execution of the innocent." There were 102 instances of today's typo in OhioLINK, and "too many records found for your search" in WorldCat.
(Paris Die-in, July 2, 2008, in support of Troy Davis, from Wikimedia Commons.)