Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Guilty Until Proven Innocent, by (O)CT(O)PUS of The Swash Zone


UPDATE III, from the comment section of The Field Negro, by The Field Negro:

"Seven of the nine witnesses for the state recanted, and they stated in sworn affidavits that they were pressured by the police to testify the way they did at the trial?

NO PHYSICAL EVIDENCE!



I REPEAT: PHYSICAL EVIDENCE!

NO DNA EVIDENCE!

Yes, he might have been a punk and he was running with some bad dudes. But you forgot the fact that the person who reported Davis to the police in the first place was with Davis that day, and was the person who first accosted and beat that homeless man.

Also,you might want to check on your facts regarding the gun:

"One of the state's key claims at trial was that the same gun used to shoot Officer MacPhail was also used in the first of two shootings earlier that evening in another neighborho­od known as Cloverdale­--and that this 'fact' implicates Mr. Davis -- has now been called into serious doubt. The state attempted to link the two crimes based on 'expert' findings. The state had a ballistics examiner, Roger Parian, testify that there was enough similariti­es between a bullet fired in Cloverdale and a bullet removed from the officer's body that the bullets may have been fired from the same gun...

The state's 'same gun' theory is no longer viable. A new report prepared by the Georgia Bureau of Investigat­ion years later at the request of the Board of Pardons and Paroles showed that the markings on the two bullets are insufficie­nt to determine that they were fired from the same gun. Former Georgia Bureau of Investigat­ion firearms examiner Christophe­r Robinson confirms that the 2007 GBI reports show that the state's 'same gun' testimony at trial was 'inaccurat­e and misleading­.' and that the 2007 GBI report 'indicates that it is impossible to tell whether the bullets were fired from the same firearm."”


There is a very good chance that the guy who fingered Davis was the actual trigger man.

But it doesn't matter now, does it?


Go read Infidel753 on this subject.

 
(Radical Redneck: Stay away from this blog.  You're too stupid to understand how grindingly stupid you are.)

UPDATE II:  10:22 pm --Supreme Court denied the stay of execution.
UPDATE I:  7:12 pm  --  Execution delayed.   Waiting for Supreme Court to decide if they will issue a stay of execution.

Cross-posted: By (O)CT(O)PUS, The Swash Zone:


According to The Innocence Project, 273 ex-felons in American prisons have been exonerated through the use of DNA testing - including 17 who have served time on death row. In theory, our justice system is based on an assumption of innocence until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. However, once you have been found guilty, the burden of proof is reversed: You must prove your innocence to a Byzantine bureaucracy before justice is finally served. Of those 273 wrongful convictions, innocent victims of a flawed justice system served an average of 13 years in prison before exoneration and release. Thirteen years! For crimes they did not commit! Attributable to false testimony. Faulty evidence! Police coercion! And/or prosecutorial abuse!


Troy Anthony Davis is scheduled for execution later today. He was convicted in the murder of Savannah police officer Mark MacPhail, who was working part-time as a security guard when he intervened between several men having an argument in a parking lot. One of the men, Sylvester Coles, implicated Davis in the killing. No murder weapon was ever found, and no physical evidence linked Davis to the crime.


Years later, 7 of the original 9 witnesses who linked Davis to the killing recanted all or part of their stories. New witnesses implicated Coles in the crime. State and federal appeals courts found those recantations unpersuasive and declared that Davis had failed to provide sufficient proof of innocence [my bold].


Among those who petitioned the courts for a new trial or evidentiary hearing: Amnesty International, NAACP, former President Jimmy Carter, Al Sharpton, Pope Benedict XVI, Desmond Tutu, former Georgia Congressman Bob Barr, and former FBI Director and Judge William Sessions.


One would think a continuing search for truth and justice should take precedence over a lust for revenge. However, once convicted, you are presumed guilty until proven innocent beyond a reasonable doubt. Yesterday, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles denied Troy Anthony Davis a petition of clemency. His execution is scheduled for 7:00 PM today.

7 comments:

Shaw Kenawe said...

Mark Osler, Professor of Law, University of St. Thomas Law School, Minnesota,is a former federal prosecutor and the author of "Jesus on Death Row," a book about capital punishment:

"...mercy, is also an explicit part of the Constitution. The federalists insisted on the inclusion of the pardon power, for example, for the express reason that it gives the system some outlet for this core virtue. (In Davis' case, it is the Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole that had the power to grant clemency).

The first signer of that Constitution was George Washington, who then lived out the virtues of that Constitution as president. He was literally the commander-in-chief; when the Whiskey Rebellion arose in western Pennsylvania, he personally led the army to quell the rebels, astride a white horse. Just as importantly, living out the constitutional virtue of mercy, he pardoned those rebels who were sentenced to hang for treason.

The Troy Davis case shows us a truth: We have wandered too far from our own best virtues.

If we are to err, let it be on the side of deliberation and mercy, rather than the unsettling finality we have seen pursued by the state of Georgia. Should we choose those better virtues, we might all sleep better."

billy pilgrim said...

it's not like they rushed it. in china he would have received a bullet in the back of the head 20 years ago.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Or as Governor GoodHair of Texas said, he always errs on the side of life, except when it comes to Texas state executions. Then it's "kill 'em all, and let God sort 'em out!"

Pamela D. Hart said...

How sad. I wasn't aware of this case until just recently.

If I found out that 7/9 witnesses LIED, I would want to get to the bottom of THAT!

Troy Davis has been on death row for how many years? And we leave men there sometimes indefinetly. Would it hurt to leave Davis on death row another year to investigate into these discrepancies? I'd much rather erase all matter of doubt! I just wouldn't be able to live with myself if I thought I might have executed an innocent man.

Dave Miller said...

The establishment in Georgia was too invested in their past work to invite any type of questions that would maybe make it look like they made a mistake.

Shaw, "The Interpreter" was a great movie.

You picked a good and appropriate scene, however my favorite was when they fell asleep on the couch together in a loving moment.

No sex, just the embrace of the moment.

Only a skilled, confident film maker like Pollack could have done that scene...

Octopus said...

FYI,
I removed a comment posted earlier. It was perhaps a heavy-handed warning to trolls not to defile this space. I remove it when I thought it was discouraging good comments as well. With the exception of RR, I am glad to see all comments are generally supportive.

The execution depressed and shocked me. I know how persons in authority can compel, prompt and manipulate witness accounts because I was once a crime victim myself. In London years ago, I was on my way home from class when 3 muggers ambushed me on a street late at night. Slashed with box cutters, I hospitalized for over a week. Six months later, Metropolitan police called me for a lineup.

Since the original ambush took place on a dark street, 6 months prior, I could no longer identify my attackers. That is when an officer whispered in my ear and tried to "prompt" my testimony.

More than shock, I felt humiliated twice - first by the attack, and second for being made to feel like a chump because I refused to provide false witness. Memory block - this is what trauma does to you.

Just because one is a crime victim, it does not mean lashing out at any available suspect. And I wonder how many innocent people end up prosecuted this way.

Shaw Kenawe said...

I tried to post this on Sheria's fine post over at The Swash Zone on this subject.

I've listened to and heard from people saying a jury of Davis's peers found him guilty and so--they firmly believe--justice was done.

However, these same people just recently bellowed INJUSTICE! over the Casey Anthony verdict when a jury of her peers found her not guilty because there wasn't enough evidence to convict in her capital murder case.

This is curious. A jury was correct in Davis's verdict when recantations and possible police coercion were involved? But because not enough evidence was presented in the Anthony's capital murder trial to convict her, that's an INJUSTICE?

I'm afraid we live in desperately ignorant times.