Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Patriotic Shame

After a delay from the scheduled time of 7:00pm, during which the Supreme Court declined to issue a last-minute stay so that an appeal could be considered, at 11:08pm local time in Georgia behind several thick, high walls and razor-wire of the Georgia Correctional Facility as well as a single-file line of body-armored riot-control police, my country's government executed a man for a crime, of which he could not be convicted today given the state of the evidence against him. Seven of nine witnesses who testified against Troy Davis have since recanted their testimony and claimed that they were pressured to testify falsely by police, and one of the remaining two was accused by the defense of truly committing the crime. Ballistic evidence has also been called into question. Five of the jurors who convicted him said they wouldn't have, given the new evidence. Personally, I believe the drastic consequences of mistakes in capital cases make capital punishment morally impermissible under all circumstances. The practice of law is undertaken by human beings who are prone to making mistakes. Mistakes are unavoidable. Since the consequences of possible mistakes in a system which applies the death penalty include the execution of potentially innocent defendants, it is morally equivalent to murder to proceed with such a system.
Today I am ashamed of my country.

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