CHELSEA GARDNER | STAFF WRITER
On September 21, 2011, the nation was stirring with the decision on the Troy Davis Case. Our media sources were showing coverage throughout the day as we anxiously waited to see if justice would prevail.
I have never placed any security in the death penalty. I have always felt that it was a way of having too much control, and playing “God” by determining who gets to live. I have also felt that there is always a chance that the person could be innocent as in the case with Troy Davis.
For many of us September 21, was just a regular day, but for Troy Davis it was his date of death; that day will forever be noted as a day of downfall in our justice system. Troy Davis, whether he was innocent or not, should have been granted a new trial. The evidence and testimonies given by the witnesses were full of reasonable doubts and uncertainty. The witnesses in the trial even recanted their testimonies. The U.S. Supreme Court rejected his bid for a stay of execution, even though the court could not clearly link Davis to the murder scene. It is situations like this that lead me to be completely against the death penalty. As a country, we often pride ourselves on our justice system, but as a lawful, abiding citizen I am appalled, shocked, and disappointed. Our justice system has many flaws and if we continue to support the death penalty we will continue to exacerbate those flaws. This case should be proof to everyone that the death penalty should be banned.
The response to this case is evident. People are angry and seeking out answers. Why did this case turn out so differently than the rest? Why did the Supreme Court deny his appeal to prove his innocence? Where was the justice in his case? Why did this 42-year old African American male die from lethal injection, when it was obvious that he should have been granted a new trial?
Troy Davis died proclaiming his innocence. Davis’s final words as reported by the Associated Press were:
“… I’m not the one who personally killed your son, your father, your brother. I am innocent. The incident that happened that night is not my fault. I did not have a gun. All I can ask … is that you look deeper into this case so that you really can finally see the truth. I ask my family and friends to continue to fight this fight. For those about to take my life, God have mercy on your souls. And may God bless your souls.”
His fight and determination were apparent. There was no evidence pointing towards him, and the reservations were overwhelming. Our legal system did a poor job of handling this case. Holding someone’s life in your hand is a serious matter and therefore, every case should be detailed and thorough. Eyewitness testimonies cannot be the sole basis of evidence. In most cases, they are not reliable sources. In this day and age, it is imperative that other means of evidence be taken into consideration, such as DNA Testing. Too often, people find themselves in jail based off of false witness statements or potential biases.
Judge Greg Mathis addressed the public and spoke out on the Troy Davis Case. He called Davis’s trial, without a doubt, “a grave miscarriage of justice.” “We’ve long known our justice system is broken. Davis’s execution shows us just how flawed the system has become…It is criminal that this man was executed with so much doubt surrounding his case and Georgia has blood on its hands,” he said.
Chelsea, I feel the same way. Thank you for these words.