As I write this, the Georgia authorities are killing Troy Davis. He was let down by the “justice” system. And the Supreme Court. And by those of us who are horrified when the state kills innocent people. There is nothing more to do or say. He is being killed. Please join me in 24 hours of silence in honor of his memory.
Tag: state killing
Sep 22 2011
Sep 21 2011
The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles denied Troy Davis’s request for clemency. It appears that Georgia will kill him by lethal injection at 7 pm ET on September 21, 2011. And it appears that execution cannot be stopped.
From Ben Jeanlous at the NAACP an eloquent, moving request that we fast tomorrow evening and mark the time of Troy Davis’s execution:
Sep 20 2011
The Georgia Pardon and Parole Board has DENIED clemency to Troy Davis. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports:
The state Board of Pardons and Paroles on Monday has denied clemency for Troy Anthony Davis after hearing pleas for mercy from Davis’ family and calls for his execution by surviving relatives of a murdered Savannah police officer.
Davis’ case has already taken more unexpected turns than just about any death-penalty case in Georgia history and his innocence claims have attracted international attention. Its resolution was postponed once again when the parole board late Monday announced it would not be making an immediate decision as to whether Davis should live or die.
Davis, 42, is scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the state prison in Jackson.
I doubt there are other legal steps that can stop the state from killing Troy Davis.
My heart goes out to Troy Davis and his family, and also to the McPhail family. They all deserve better.
Sep 17 2011
On September 21, 2011, the State of Georgia plans to kill Troy Davis by lethal injection. Again. This is the fourth time the State of Georgia has scheduled Davis for death. In 2007 he was spared with less than 24 hours notice. In September 2008, the hearse was waiting at the door and he was less than two hours away from the gurney. A month later the execution was halted three days before execution. And now, the rollercoaster from hope to despair has come to September 21, 2011.
Troy Davis’s conviction stems from the 1989 death of a Savannah police officer, Mark Allen McPhail. The rollercoaster, for Troy Davis and his family and for the family of the officer, has been lurching back and forth for 22 years. And with each year, doubt about the conviction has grown as witnesses have recanted and as jurors speak their unresolved doubts. Lurking in the background is alarming possibility that the wrong man is waiting for the needle and that the real murderer has escaped.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports:
With only days before his scheduled execution, an effort to spare convicted killer Troy Davis is gathering thousands in rallies, vigils and other last-minute events from Atlanta to Peru to Berlin.
Citing doubts about his guilt, national leaders of the NAACP and Amnesty International led hundreds in a protest Friday against executing the man a Georgia jury said killed a Savannah police officer in 1989. Amnesty International declared a Global Day of Solidarity for Troy Davis, with 300 events across the United States and the globe, including in New York, Washington D.C., San Diego, Paris and Oslo.
Former President Jimmy Carter, Pope Benedict XVI and Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu are among those calling for his execution to be halted. And this week, Davis supporters presented 663,000 petitions to the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles asking for his life to be spared.
Troy Davis has one last chance to ask for leniency. The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles, which has the sole authority in Georgia to commute death sentences, will meet Monday to consider Davis’s case.
That means that this weekend is the last opportunity to sign a petition and to stand with more than 600,000 others for sparing Troy Davis.
The petition is here.
An excellent first person view is here (h/t OPOL).
cross-posted from The Dream Antilles
Sep 16 2011
On September 21, 2011, the State of Georgia plans to kill Troy Davis by lethal injection. If it happens, this execution will not be an unusual event. In Texas this year there have already been ten executions. In the United States this year there have been thirty-three executions. In fact, there have been some days in 2011 when there were two executions. But in general most, if not all of these killings have gone unnoticed. It’s as if someone had pressed the mute button, so we could not hear the anguish or see the tears, so we could not see what was being done in our names.
There were two executions planned in Texas this week. On September 13, 2011, Texas killed Steven Woods for 2001 a double murder. And on September 15, 2011, it took the US Supreme Court’s last minute stay to stop the planned killing of Duane Buck. Buck got some deserved attention because his death sentence included egregious “expert” testimony that Black people are more dangerous than whites. But in general, state killing goes on largely unnoticed. And without noticeable scrutiny. Or opposition.
Troy Davis is an exception to the silence and what appears to be acquiescence to state killing. Thank goodness. And that may be because Troy Davis is likely innocent. The case against him has disintegrated since his trial. It has fallen apart as witnesses recanted their testimony and explained the police coercion in interrogations that made them perjured themselves at his trial. Troy Davis appears to be innocent, a circumstances that Justice Scalia has opined in this very case is of no constitutional significance. Despite all of this Georgia relentlessly pursues killing him. So Troy Davis has managed to attract attention, which he completely deserves, and has elicited remarkable and justified eloquence in his defense. I wish others who have faced execution had received similar support, but I can understand completely why they have not. And I am pleased that the execution of Troy Davis has evoked such strong opposition.
I have twice before written about Georgia’s desire to kill Troy Davis, on July 7, 2006 and onAugust 9, 2009, and here I am again more than five years later saying the same thing, trying to ask you to ask the State of Georgia to spare the same man, Troy Davis. I won’t repeat all the reasons.
Troy Davis should be spared.
Alll I can do now is urge you, dear reader, to join the 663,000 people who have already signed a petition to go to spare Troy Davis by signing the NAACP petition and by taking the additional recommended steps to spare Troy Davis.
And also, please, whatever may happen to Troy Davis, please recognize that there are going to be more Troy Davises, recognized or not, as long as the United States has the death penalty. The only way to prevent that is abolition of state killing. Let’s spare Troy Davis. And let’s also stop state killing.
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Sep 30 2010
Can you hear that? That’s me, howling. It’s not complicated why. Last night I started to write a blog post, in fact, this blog post. I had maybe 500 words typed into the box and then I moved the mouse and the next thing I knew, poof, there was nada, zilch, nothing. All gone. Totally vaporized. That’s when I started howling. I continue even now.
The blog post, well, this blog post is/was about state killing. There have been two horrendous, macabre executions in the last weeks. Let me briefly recall them for you before I move on to what I think might be my point.
Sep 25 2010
As long as there is a death penalty in the United States, as long as the government persists in the barbaric practice of having the state kill those convicted of the most egregious murders, as long as the government continues to kill by lethal injection, there will continue to be egregious, shameful, disgraceful, inhuman, unfathomable executions.
Last week it was the Virginia execution of Teresa Lewis, a woman with a 72 IQ who was not the shooter in the double murder that led to her execution on Thursday. The two male gunmen each received life in prison. Little, whose guilt was never in doubt, pleaded guilty, waived her right to a jury trial on punishment, and to her then attorney’s surprise, was sentenced to death by a judge without a jury. The judge said she was the “head of the serpent.” I wrote that if this execution was justice, justice was an ass.
And now Georgia plans on executing Brandon Rhode on Monday.
Sep 24 2010
The New York Daily News reports:
Teresa Lewis died by lethal injection on Thursday night, the first woman in Virginia to be executed in nearly a century.
Lewis was prounounced dead at 9:13 p.m. as a small crowd of supporters stood outside in protest.
Though lawyers for Lewis waged a public campaign for the Gov. of Virginia to intervene, there was no 11th hour reprieve for the 41-year-old woman, who was sentenced to death for plotting the 2002 murders of her husband and stepson.
Lewis reportedly spent her last day meeting with her immediate family, a spiritual adviser, and supporters at the prison where she was executed.
For her last supper, she requested a meal of fried chicken breasts, peas with butter, a slice of German cake or a piece of apple pie, and a Dr. Pepper, according to SkyNews.
And so a woman with the IQ of 72 is killed by Virginia, and those who actually fired the shots that resulted in the double murders received life sentences.
If this is justice, the law is an ass.
Mar 24 2010
UPDATE: 6:20 pm EDT: The Innocence Project reports that the US Supreme Court has issued a stay that prevents the execution of Hank Skinner.
Texas plans to kill death row prisoner Hank Skinner by lethal injection today. Even though DNA from the crime scene has never been tested, and even though Skinner has insisted for more than sixteen years that he is innocent, Texas plans today to have its inexorable revenge against Skinner for a triple homicide. Stopping the execution now so that DNA testing can be conducted depends on long shots: Texas Governor Rick Perry and last minute appeals to the Supreme Court.
Jan 26 2010
It’s not every day that I get a welcoming forum to discuss the death penalty and why state killing should be abolished. So I was particularly delighted to appear today on WBAI’s “Law and Disorder.” Want to hear what I had to say? Click this to play the interview.
A special thanks to Michael Smith, Michael Ratner and Heidi Bogosian for inviting me and to WBAI in New York for broadcasting this show both on the radio and the Internet.
cross-poster at The Dream Antilles
Dec 14 2009
It’s a reason for optimism in the long battle to end State Killing. The New York Times editorial today called for the abolition of the death penalty. I applaud. The abolition of state killing should be a mainstream, American idea.
The Times is angry and points out the obvious about the change in Ohio from 3-drug state killing to 1-drug state killing:
This is what passes for progress in the application of the death penalty: Kenneth Biros, a convicted murderer, was put to death in Ohio last week with one drug, instead of the more common three-drug cocktail. It took executioners 30 minutes to find a vein for the needle, compared with the two hours spent hunting for a vein on the last prisoner Ohio tried to kill, Romell Broom. Technicians tried about 18 times to get the needle into Mr. Broom’s arms and legs before they gave up trying to kill him. Mr. Biros was jabbed only a few times in each arm.
The Times gets quickly from the barbarism of the Biro and Broom executions to the main point:
The larger problem, however, is that changing a lethal-injection method is simply an attempt, as Justice Harry Blackmun put it, to “tinker with the machinery of death.” No matter how it is done, for the state to put someone to death is inherently barbaric.
It has also become clear – particularly since DNA evidence has become more common – how unreliable the system is. Since 1973, 139 people have been released from death row because of evidence that they were innocent, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.
An untold number of innocent people have also, quite likely, been put to death. Earlier this year, a fire expert hired by the state of Texas issued a report that cast tremendous doubt on whether a fatal fire – for which Cameron Todd Willingham was executed in 2004 – was arson at all. Until his execution, Mr. Willingham protested his innocence.
Most states still have capital punishment, and the Obama administration has so far shown a troubling commitment to it, pursuing federal capital cases even in states that do not themselves have the death penalty.
The Times conclusion:
Earlier this year, New Mexico repealed its death penalty, joining 14 other states – and the District of Columbia – that do not allow it. That is the way to eliminate the inevitable problems with executions.
Put another way, abolition is the answer to the lingering horror of state killing. Abolition cannot happen soon enough.
simulposted at The Dream Antilles
Sep 21 2009
Here’s a trick question. Is there anything wrong with a death penalty jury trial in which the prosecutor trying the case is having an affair while the case is going on with the judge who is trying the case? I know. It looks pretty unfair. It looks pretty sleazy. There really should be something the matter with this, right? Shouldn’t the judge recuse herself? Shouldn’t the case be assigned to a different prosecutor, all for the sake of the appearance of fairness?
But in Texas, ground zero for state killing, there’s no answer to these questions. At least not today Why? Because the majority of the Court of Criminal Appeals, Texas’s highest court that considers criminal appeals, is wagging its finger at the defendant’s lawyers saying that the affair isn’t something that the Court will look at because the defense lawyers waited too long to raise the issue. According to the Court, it’s OK to execute Charles D. Hood whether there was an affair or not because the defense waited too long to raise the question. You cannot make this stuff up.