‘Beyond a reasonable doubt’ is the law. Georgia is apparently above the law, a place where ‘beyond reason’ is the maxim.
Troy Davis’ execution is scheduled for today, despite over 1,500 legal experts’ opinion as well as millions around the world, and an overwhelming majority (7/9) of eyewitnesses changing their minds. New evidence is not enough to convince Georgia’s five-person parole board to grant Davis clemency.
The board denied Davis’ request to take a polygraph test earlier this morning.
Are all these people unreasonable? A former president, a former FBI director, the Pope (for God’s sake), the Council of Europe, senators, lawmakers, lawyers, human rights figures, independent analysis groups—they all have fought for Davis’ case to be reconsidered.
It’s truly maddening.
And again, the prosecution bears the burden of proof, which burden they undertook, but now there is new evidence. Why, if the evidence did not merit some level of consideration, would droves of people come out in support of one man, much less a man convicted of killing a police officer?
That this is his particular crime is no small matter. It links us to motivations behind the emotion-driven response of Georgia’s officials. To them, Davis is a cop-killer. That is the ultimate disrespect to them, and as such, Davis is a ne’er-do-well whose life must be ended for the sake of public safety.
If it had been merely a citizen who was murdered, the parole board would have less emotional motivation to behave in such a intransigent manner. But this is one their own.
Despite what’s happened already, it is high time to act like reasonable human beings and reconsider the case: there is ample reasonable doubt and new evidence. There are multiple sworn statements by residents saying that another man, Sylvester “Redd” Coles, who was at the scene of the crime, admitted to killing officer Mark Allen McPhail.
“I feel, emphatically, that Mr. Davis cannot be executed under these circumstances,” said Brenda Forrest, one of the jurors who sentenced Davis to death. ‘These circumstances’ refers to new evidence, which she and others claim the board is not giving fair consideration.
“I would have had doubt that Troy Davis was the person who shot Officer MacPhail,” said Theodosia Johnston, another one of Davis’ jurors, again referring to the neglected new evidence.
There are scores of reasons this case stinks of injustice, not the least of which, as mentioned in our piece about the 300+ protests for Davis’ release from last week, is that seven out of nine eyewitnesses have recanted all or part of their original testimonies.
Nor is the least of which that the state of Georgia treats minorities like second-class citizens.
Alas, unless Washington justices intervene, experts are saying the case will end today with Troy Davis being murdered for a murder he may not have committed.