After years of stays, appeals, protests and even a last minute review of the case by the U.S. Supreme Court, Georgia executed Troy Anthony Davis on Sept. 21. The official time of death was 11:08 p.m. eastern time.
Troy Davis was convicted of the 1989 murder of police officer Mark MacPhail in Savannah, GA. During Davis’ 1991 trial, seven witnesses testified they had seen Davis shoot MacPhail, and two others testified that Davis confessed to the murder among 34 witnesses who testified for the prosecution, and six others for the defense, including Davis.
One of the major controversies of the case was that since the first trial, numerous witnesses recanted their statements. Although this new information was brought before the Supreme Court, the justices felt that there was enough compelling evidence to proceed with the execution.
The Supreme Court made a mistake by not re-examining the evidence. While the justice system may feel that appeals make up more than the margin of error that court convictions can have, appeals focus more on the mechanics of trials rather than the re-examination of the evidence.
While many may argue that death penalty cases are handled with the utmost scrutiny, the Troy Davis case shows us that is not always the case. We need to elect officials who are willing to examine the facts and consider all variables before we make judgments on life and death.