I’m opposed to the death penalty, but the current hubbub about the Troy Davis case has me scratching my head. I don’t know the case well (meaning I’ve only read 1 online summary), but it doesn’t seem that there’s much to question in the pro-Davis camp. But then again, maybe I’m just too jaded.
It seems that the crux of the argument is that 7 of the original 9 witnesses have subsequently recanted their testimony. Seven of nine is a high percentage, no question about it. But isn’t it too high?
I once read somewhere that the Sanhedrin, the traditional Jewish court system, had a rule against unanimous verdicts; the thinking is that there is always a doubt in criminal cases, and that if all of the judges/jurors agreed on something, that there most be something awry. According to legend, Jesus was convicted by a unanimous verdict, but handed over to the Romans in spite of the Jewish law.
Which is what comes to mind when I hear that 7 witnesses have changed their minds since they originally testified. Isn’t that reversal inherently suspicious? Doesn’t it mean that the police successfully conspired to badger and intimidate 9 different people into lying against somebody in a capital case?
Have the police ever been so successful in doing anything? Have you ever heard of anybody who had 9 enemies willing to perjure themselves to get a death sentence handed down?
Of course, not. What probably happened –at the crime scene and in the courtroom– did happen. And anti-death penalty advocates have chosen the wrong case to get behind.[social_share/]