Category Archives: Death Penalty

Troy Davis must die.

At 6:00 PM CDST this evening, Troy Anthony Davis will die for a crime that he likely did not commit. 

All of the arguments are over. All of the pleas have been dismissed. All of the evidence has been filed away. Tee shirts and signs and editorials will focus on a new issue, a new problem, tomorrow. The world will forget about Troy Davis. Few will remember him after today.

Well, some may remember, quite vividly. The seven ‘witnesses’ that testified against Davis that later recanted their testimony may remember him. The police department and prosecutor might think about him now and then. The family of the slain police officer may wonder if they executed the right man.

Redd Coles may think about Troy Davis. Coles was there the night the officer was killed and several eye witnesses say that it was Coles that did the shooting. Coles testified that it was Davis that fired the fatal shots. Coles is one of the two ‘witnesses’ that has yet to recant his testimony. Troy Davis never owned a gun, but Redd Coles did. It was the same caliber of the gun that killed Officer MacPhail.

No murder weapon was ever found.  No DNA evidence ever linked Troy Davis to the slain officer. There was no forensic evidence presented at the trial. All that the prosecution had was eye witness accounts, but that was enough to secure a conviction for capital murder against Troy Davis. And now, Troy Davis will die.

And so it is with justice in America. The Right Wing cheers the Texas Governor that brags of executing 234 inmates during his tenure in the Statehouse. Opinion pages are filled with comments from death penalty supporters that claim that Davis has had enough time to prove his innocence. All of the standard arguments for capital punishment have been discussed, refuted and discussed again. It’s all over now. The proper authorities have spoken clearly – Troy Anthony Davis must die.

William Stephenson Clark

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Just a Tad Extreme

Recently, I read a story at one of the online news websites about a man who stalked and stabbed an eight year old boy at an arcade. As is my normal practice, I also perused the comment section of the article. The backstory:

GARDEN CITY, N.Y. — A man accused of repeatedly stabbing an 8-year-old boy playing video games at a restaurant arcade had spent weeks stalking potential victims at area shopping malls, police said Monday. “His intent was to kill a child,” Nassau County Police Sgt. Vincent Garcia said of 23-year-old Evan Sachs. Sachs was arrested Friday night, moments after police say he plunged the 4-inch blade of a hunting knife five times into the boy’s back.”

The story went on to state that the accused was undergoing  psychiatric care.

Now, lest there be any confusion, I certainly do not have any empathy for the accused, but I was shocked at the comments that I read about him. It would seem that a fair portion of our fellow citizens feel that capital punishment without trial would be appropriate for the accused and that incarceration for the mentally ill should be mandatory.

The anonymity of faceless blogging does tend to bring out the worst in people, but really, capital punishment? I believe I have thoroughly explained my opposition to capital punishment, so it goes without saying that I am not in agreement with that type of commentary, but I have to wonder what drives someone to such levels of hatred.

Perhaps I am a bit naive, but I don’t recall many people with similar points of view in my journeys. Since when do we take a position completely contrary to the right of due process under the Constitution? Have we become so calloused that we flippantly advocate Iranian-style justice in the United States?

If in fact mental illness drove this young man to this crime, it needs to be dealt with accordingly, otherwise, the court system should proceed as it does with thousands of other cases each year. Despite the desires of extremists. we have yet to sink to the levels of barbarians.

I hope and pray that the eight year old boy recovers physically and psychologically. I also hope and pray that justice will be served under the law.

 


William Stephenson Clark

 

PS: The mine rescue events in Chile this evening (Tuesday) stand in stark contrast with the thoughts of some of our fellow Americans. It has to make you think about the direction we are headed.




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THE DEATH PENALTY… REASON AND DETERRENT.

In Utah a fellow human being was strapped in a chair and six men with rifles took aim.

Now as is a custom of formal firing squads, only five out the six had real bullets while one would have a blank. This so that the members of the firing squad can ease their feeling of guilt or reservation by excusing them as they were the one with the blank.  As such the penalty of death was carried out against that human after being convicted and sentenced to death for killing someone in his attempt to escape from his trial for murdering another human being.

A cold and orderly murder by the State and the society of Utah.

Is it the right of a humane society to order and carry out the intentional killing of a human being?

A question that has been discussed and argued for hundreds of years in this country among others.  Some other countries even if the crime does not carry the death penalty will not extradite someone to the United States because we have the death penalty for some crimes.

Is the death penalty a deterrent? In 1973 a survey was done of everyone who had been sentenced to death and were waiting for the sentence to be carried out. They were asked “Did you ever consider you could be put to death for committing the crime before you committed it?”  To the person not one said it was ever a consideration before committing the crime.  So in that aspect it is not a deterrent and for the most part crimes are committed due to emotion and impulse, not with reasoning that comes from a sound mind which would take into account what punishment might result in committing the crime.

The laws, courts and penalties imposed are more a deterrent to those who do not need a deterrent.  They are not prone to or having those circumstance that would make committing a crime a reasonable thing to do for them.

So what is the reasoning for a society to put someone to death for having committed a crime of any degree?

An explanation that I have heard came from a reporter who though she was against the death penalty witnessed an execution.  She described the actual execution as being rather simple and not appearing to be unduly painful.  A needle put in the arm of the condemned, the injection of drugs that seemed to just make the man go to sleep.  The condemned simply nodded off and it was over except for the reality being he was now dead.  Her explanation was, that is was the most extreme example a society has to show that certain crimes will not be tolerated by the society.

Now of course the real deterrent is that this one person shall never again commit the crime or any crime that they received the death penalty for. Once they have died they can never do anything again. Continue reading

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