The Nine have decided, without explanation, to let the State of Georgia go ahead with its proposal to murder Troy Davis at a time and place of their choosing.
Here's a pretty old post from the blog archives of Geekery Today; it was written about 15 years ago, in 2008, on the World Wide Web.
The Nine have decided, without explanation, to let the State of Georgia go ahead with its proposal to murder Troy Davis at a time and place of their choosing. They are apparently acting in the belief that making sure all the paperwork stays settled, preserving the institutions of monopolistic legal finality, and practicing due deference to other judges’ turf, matters more than something as paltry as whether or not an innocent man is about to be killed for a crime he did not commit.
Here is what I got last evening from Amnesty International USA:
Today, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear Troy Anthony Davis’ appeal. His fate is back in the hands of Georgia authorities who may seek a new execution date at any time.
The Supreme Court’s decision to deny Troy Davis’ petition means that no court of law will ever hold a hearing on the witnesses who have recanted their trial testimony in sworn affidavits.
Doubts about his guilt raised by these multiple witness recantations will never be resolved. An execution under such a cloud of doubt would undermine public confidence in the state’s criminal justice system and would be a grave miscarriage of justice.
The state of Georgia can still do the responsible thing and prevent the execution of Troy Davis:
- Write a letter to the editor calling on Georgia to stop the execution of Troy Davis!
- Call on the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles to reconsider its previous decision and grant clemency to Troy Davis.
- Urge your friends and family to go to http://amnestyusa.org/troydavis or text TROY to 90999 to add their voices to the over 200,000 that have already taken action on this case.
Sincerely, Larry Cox
Amnesty International USA
First, I should say that, as a matter of fact, it does not matter to me — and it should not matter to you — one bit whether or not Troy Davis really is responsible for the killing he’s alleged to have committed, or, if he is responsible, whether or not the prosecution legitimate proved their case in the midst of what appears to have been a very dirty bit of business by the Gangsters in Blue. There seems to be good evidence for massive police misconduct, and for the likelihood of Davis’s innocence. This evidence is important, and let’s go ahead and scream about it as much as possible to the men and women sitting in the court andcorrectionssystem, if it will save Troy Davis from the gallows.
But, just between us, we need to remember that even if he were obviously guilty as hell, the State has no right to commit premeditated murder in order to make him pay for it. The penalty of death is the ultimate, definitive expression of the State’s cold and sadistic violence, exercised with no defensive purpose and against women and men who no longer pose any threat to any living soul, on the theory that in the end your body and your life belong to the State, and can be mutilated and destroyed by it, at its pleasure, for its own special purposes — whether to exactblood vengeance,or tosend a messageto unrelated third parties, cut into your body by the Harrow of the criminal justice system. It is nothing more and nothing less than State-sanctioned murder, and it ought to be abolished immediately, completely, and forever.
Second, you should also note, from this story, that in the view of the Georgia Supreme Court,final arbiterthat it is, getting all the paperwork settled once and for all is apparently more important than whether or not an innocent man will be slaughtered on the basis of lying testimony extracted by intimidation and coercion at the hands of an overzealous police department, desperately seeking a black cop-killer to lynch. You may find this appalling; but it should not be surprising. This approach to The Law is essential to the very nature of the State and its legal system. Authority is held to take precedence over fact and evidence; imposed finality is held to take precedence over justice, even when it comes to punishments that are utterly irreversible, destroying forever any hope of appeal. Otherwise, anyone might just go around any old time and prove somebody’s innocence and spring them from the prisons or the gallows, a judge’s say-so notwithstanding; a journalist’s expose or an ad hoc committee’s discoveries and reasoned decisions might be just as good as that the Nine. Without sovereign authority to stand between the people and justice, doing justice would be nothing a mere human institution, open to anybody who can do some research and submit facts to a candid world. Why, it’d be Anarchy! So instead, paying due deference and having the right stamp on the right papers and uttering the right ritual incantations is held to be more important than somehing so paltry as a man’s life. That is the Majesty of the Law; that is its morality; that is its justice.
The Final Arbiter
Gary Chartier /#
This is a really great piece, Charles. It dismays me that so few people are willing to emphasize that capital punishment is not just inexpedient or risky, but actually–precisely because, as you say, the person being executed poses no threat to anyone by the time she or he is executed–wrong. Unjust. Morally indefensible. I appreciate your outstanding combination of passion and clarity.
This is just so incredibly tragic. I’m still in disbelief that he will be executed. Is the preservation of the status quo legal system really more important than saving an innocent man? Do they really believe that?
This makes me so fucking angry.
Judging by the title I thought a comparison to the Nine Ringwraiths robed in black was coming…
I cannot see what is the basis for intervention by a federal court in a criminal case.
Rad Geek /#
Well, I think the Nine make the comparison obvious enough themselves without my belaboring the point.
I don’t think that turf wars between statist judges are more important than saving a man’s life. Do you? If so, why?
True. It does surprise me though that LOTR offers up so many metaphors to critique tyranny Remember the “silent watchers” from Minas Morgul, full of evil and malice? They remind me of something, I just don’t know what….