This serves no useful purpose. The deterrent value is zero, and millions are convinced this proves once again that a black man can’t get a fair trial in America. Especially in the South.
Poking through the case against him—as minimally reported by the press but re-examined numerous times by the legal process—“beyond a reasonable doubt” on the part of the original jury is not beyond question. There is no new exculpatory evidence beyond witnesses recanting. [Would you recant testimony if it meant sparing a man’s life? I sure might.]
Again, to avoid the tall weeds of the particulars—and every advocate is an expert—the legal process has been observed every step of the way. It’s not the legal system’s job to retry a case from scratch every year for decades. Davis was convicted in 1991; he’s had 20 years of appeals on numerous and varied grounds including whether the electric chair is unconstitutional under the 8th Amendment.
[Lethal injection is now the plan; Troy Davis has just been granted an 11th hour stay.]
This isn’t a legal question, then. The law has been observed, and now it requires its pound of flesh.
The wisdom of extracting this pound of flesh is at question here. Law and its enforcement is not an end in itself; it’s the means to a better polity.
Not only does this serve no good purpose, it will make things worse in our country. This is unwise.
LATE ADD: The Supreme Court’s stay has been lifted.
LAST ADD: Troy Davis is dead.