10
   

It is a done deal....the state is going to Kill Davis

 
 
Reply Wed 21 Sep, 2011 09:09 pm
Is this the end of the death penalty in America? I sure hope so, except for treason.
 
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Sep, 2011 09:34 pm
@hawkeye10,
OOPS....I got beat to the question


The Slow Death of Certainty

Will the Troy Davis case be the one that finally turns America against the death penalty?

By Dahlia Lithwick
Posted Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011, at 8:30 PM ET

Quote:
Whatever else it may come to mean, the execution of Troy Davis by the state of Georgia can stand for the proposition that the death penalty in America is finally dying. That's because the fight over the death penalty is now happening in public, at the grassroots, and with reason triumphing over emotion. In the debate over capital punishment, the desire for certainty is finally beginning to carry as much weight as the need for finality. Americans are asking not so much whether this particular prisoner should be killed as whether this whole capital system is fair.

Steve Kornacki asks whether the Davis case and the vast amount of media and international interest it has generated might serve as a "public opinion tipping point" that signals the beginning of the end of capital punishment in America. He notes that public support for the death penalty has remained pretty consistent over the past decade (64 percent of Americans are still for it), and points out that the decline in support for the death penalty since the 1990s has more to do with a drop in crime rates than changes in attitude. Kornacki concludes that "the basic eye-for-an-eye nature of the death penalty remains compelling for most Americans," and in light of all the whoopin' and stompin' by the Rick Perry crowd in the last month, it's tempting to think that the government-sanctioned killing of a man who many believe to be innocent won't move the needle much. Tim Murphy agrees, reminding us that "[a] third of all Americans, 34 percent, believe an innocent person has been executed and at the same time support the death penalty.

I think that's wrong. Start with the fact that the Troy Davis case has created staggering levels of public interest in the death penalty. (Jeff Toobin called Davis was "the best-known person on death row" and that no death penalty case has engendered this much public doubt and outrage since the execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, killed in 1953 for spying for the Soviet Union.) It is probably folly to try to understand why one death penalty case captures the public imagination more than any other. But the Davis case illustrates so many of the growing doubts about the capital system, such as questions about the reliability of eyewitness testimony (as explained by Brandon Garrett), the grotesque levels of racial bias that infect the capital sentencing system, and the various types of police misconduct."

http://www.slate.com/id/2304140/
raprap
 
  2  
Reply Wed 21 Sep, 2011 09:44 pm
@hawkeye10,
Texas has executed innocent people, and it has had no effect on slowing executions in Texas. Why would you expect anything different in Georgia.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/barry-scheck/innocent-but-executed_b_e 272327.html

http://scienceblogs.com/dispatches/2010/03/texas_judge_weve_executed_inno.php

http://officeofstrategicinfluence.com/deathpenalty/

Personally, I think the next time Rick Perry threatens secession, he ought to be charged with treason.

Rap
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Sep, 2011 09:46 pm
@raprap,
Quote:
Texas has executed innocent people, and it has had no effect on slowing executions in Texas. Why would you expect anything different in Georgia.
This case is different, and while I dont know why it is different the state it happens is not part of why this is different, I think.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Sep, 2011 09:52 pm
@hawkeye10,
I know what resonates with me is that I hear a lot of people like the DA who tried him say " I think he is guilty" or " I have no doubt but that he is guilty" but not a single " it was proven that he is guilty".......NOBODY is willing to claim that his guilt was proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
0 Replies
 
ryoung
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Sep, 2011 09:56 pm
@hawkeye10,
DNA proved his guilt, so what is the problem. Sounds like he deserves it. They should all require undisputible proof so innosent people are not executed. If you take away the death penalty murders are sure to go up.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Sep, 2011 10:08 pm
@ryoung,
ryoung wrote:

DNA proved his guilt, so what is the problem. Sounds like he deserves it. They should all require undisputible proof so innosent people are not executed. If you take away the death penalty murders are sure to go up.
Really? How does dna in this case prove that Davis killed the victim?
ryoung
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Sep, 2011 10:27 pm
@hawkeye10,
His DNA was found at the crime scene, him and his lawyer were the one pushing for the DNA test and it was his.
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Sep, 2011 10:42 pm
It's wishful thinking that this case will lead to a reversal in public opinion concerning the death penalty and ultimately to its total discontinuance in America. This is strongly suggested by comments like:

Quote:
It is probably folly to try to understand why one death penalty case captures the public imagination more than any other.


Quote:
This case is different, and while I dont know why it is different the state it happens is not part of why this is different, I think.


Hunches and hope don't lead to measured analysis.

hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Sep, 2011 10:45 pm
@ryoung,
ryoung wrote:

His DNA was found at the crime scene, him and his lawyer were the one pushing for the DNA test and it was his.
was it proved that he was the only one at the scene....and that he was there when the crime happened? Doubtful, this is probaby like how we use dna to prove that sex happened and then parley that into proof of rape.....aka total bullshit.
0 Replies
 
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Sep, 2011 10:50 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
I have been a vocal opponent of the death penalty except for treason for 30 years, it is one of my pet lost causes....I will take what I can get.
0 Replies
 
gungasnake
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Sep, 2011 03:55 am
@raprap,
Quote:
Personally, I think the next time Rick Perry threatens secession, he ought to be charged with treason.


Texas has a legal right to succeed at its own pleasure, that was part of the deal under which Texas joined the union.
0 Replies
 
gungasnake
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Sep, 2011 04:11 am
In theory at least I've got nothing against hanging somebody like Manson or Dennis Rader. Here's the problem: I'd want several big changes to the system before I could feel good about capital punishment any more.

1. The criterion of guilt should be "beyond any doubt, whatsoever". "Beyond a reasonable doubt" doesn't cut it for capital punishment; you can't unhang somebody.

2. The person in question would have to represent a continuing danger should he ever get loose again. Certainly somebody who goes on ordering crimes from inside a prison cell would qualify. Society basically has no other way to protect itself at that point.

3. I'd want to get rid of the present adversarial system of justice and replace it with a European style inquisitorial system in which the common incentive for all parties was the determination of facts. NOBODY should ever have any sort of a career/money incentive for sending people to prison. It's bad enough that people sit around in prison because their lawyer simply wasn't as good as some prosecutor on a given day; you sure as hell don't want people dying for that reason.

4. I'd want there to be no societal benefit to keeping the person alive. Cases in which this criteria would prevent hanging somebody would include "Son of Sam" who we probably should want to study more than hang, or Timothy McVeigh who clearly knew more than the public ever was allowed to hear.

They expected DNA testing to eliminate the prime suspect in felony cases in something like one or two percent of cases and many people were in states of shock when that number came back more like 33 or 35%. That translates into some fabulous number of people sitting around in prisons for stuff they don't know anything at all about since the prime suspect in a felony case usually goes to prison. Moreover, in a state like Texas which executes a hundred people a year or whatever it is, that translates into innocent people being executed on a fairly regular basis.

0 Replies
 
gungasnake
 
  3  
Reply Thu 22 Sep, 2011 04:22 am
The job of District Attorney in America seems to involve almost limitless power and very little resembling accountability; granted there is no shortage of good people who hold the job, the combination clearly attracts the wrong kinds of people as well.

DA is often the first rung in the ladder of political careers and some of those careers are paved with the blood and shattered lives of innocents. Cases which are well known and easy to research on the internet include those of Janet Reno and her witch hunts, Scott Harshbarger, Mike Nifong, Martha Cloakley who almost became a US senator from Massachusetts, Ronnie Earle who managed to convict Tom Delay of being a Republican, that lunatic sheriff of Wenatchee Wa. who almost succeeded in having Wenatchee disincorporated when it could no longer buy insurance, the prosecutors in that hideous David Camm case in Indiana... there doesn't seem to be any shortage of people who should not be holding that job.


OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Sep, 2011 05:13 am
@raprap,
raprap wrote:
Personally, I think the next time Rick Perry threatens secession, he ought to be charged with treason.

Rap
"Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies,
giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act,
or on Confession in open Court."

I guess Rap found something in there
about "threatening secession".





David

0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Sep, 2011 05:14 am
@gungasnake,
gungasnake wrote:
The job of District Attorney in America seems to involve almost limitless power and very little resembling accountability; granted there is no shortage of good people who hold the job, the combination clearly attracts the wrong kinds of people as well.

DA is often the first rung in the ladder of political careers and some of those careers are paved with the blood and shattered lives of innocents. Cases which are well known and easy to research on the internet include those of Janet Reno and her witch hunts, Scott Harshbarger, Mike Nifong, Martha Cloakley who almost became a US senator from Massachusetts, Ronnie Earle who managed to convict Tom Delay of being a Republican, that lunatic sheriff of Wenatchee Wa. who almost succeeded in having Wenatchee disincorporated when it could no longer buy insurance, the prosecutors in that hideous David Camm case in Indiana... there doesn't seem to be any shortage of people who should not be holding that job.
Your point is well made.





David
gungasnake
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Sep, 2011 05:20 am
@OmSigDAVID,
Case in point...

http://www.newsobserver.com/2011/09/22/1507862/ex-defendant-sues-cline-police.html

Quote:
A Durham man who was set free by the state Court of Appeals over "repeated neglect" by Durham District Attorney Tracey Cline filed a civil lawsuit Wednesday against the prosecutor, the police officers who handled his case, and the city of Durham.

Frankie Washington alleges that the authorities who put him behind bars for nearly three years acted in "bad faith." The officers and Cline concealed evidence, the lawsuit alleges, and conspired to violate his rights under the state and U.S. constitutions.

Cline and the police had a "reckless and callous disregard of public justice in this State," says the lawsuit, filed in Durham County Superior Court.

Washington also accuses Cline of libel and slander, based on allegedly "false" comments she has made in recent weeks to the news media about Washington's case and her certainty of his guilt. Washington's case was highlighted in the recent three-part News & Observer series "Twisted Truth," which focused on misstatements by Cline and evidence withheld from defendants.

Washington seeks more than money: The lawsuit requests greater oversight of the Durham Police Department.

Washington asks a judge to appoint an independent police "monitor" with the power to hire and fire all police officials.

Many cities have used police monitors, typically a person installed with oversight of the agency. Monitors typically have been put in place amid troubling patterns of police conduct.

The lawsuit, filed by attorneys Robert Ekstrand and Stefanie Sparks of Durham, also seeks the creation of a three-member police review board, appointed by the court, that would report to the monitor about complaints of police misconduct lodged by citizens. Currently, Durham has a nine-member board that reviews how police conduct internal reviews after complaints are made. That board reports to the city manager.

City will review

Mayor Bill Bell said in an interview that he would discuss the lawsuit and the broad remedies it seeks with other city officials and council members. Bell said the city would consider taking its own steps if necessary and would not wait on a court order.

Cline could not be reached for a response. Prosecutors typically receive broad immunity from civil suits based on their role within the legal system. It is not clear from the lawsuit, other than the claims of libel and slander, how Washington would be able to sue the district attorney.

A police spokeswoman wrote in an email message in July that the police department "feels confident in the quality of the investigation involving Frankie Washington."

In seeking an outside monitor, the lawsuit cites wrongful prosecutions in Durham, including three players who were on the Duke University lacrosse team and were charged in an alleged gang rape. Attorney General Roy Cooper declared the three players innocent in 2007, about two months after Washington's conviction by a jury.

A delay in testing

Washington, a Durham handyman, was convicted of robbery and attempted sexual assault in February 2007 on testimony from victims that he had been the masked attacker who was in their house. The victims, sitting in a police car 20 feet away, identified him the night of the attack.

The appeals court said it was troubled by the "show-up" eyewitness procedure that led to Washington's arrest. Cline, in an interview, has said she was not concerned with what happened and is certain that Washington is guilty.

Washington, who claimed all along that he was innocent, sought to have evidence that was collected at the time of the crime tested against his own DNA and fingerprints.

Cline did not submit the evidence for years, then testified in the trial and told a judge in a hearing that the delays were the result of a backlog at the state crime lab.

The appeals court found otherwise, ruling that Cline was in control of the testing. When the evidence was finally tested, none of it matched Washington, but he was convicted anyway.

His conviction was vacated because he did not get a speedy trial. The case took almost five years from arrest to trial.

Another issue in Washington's case was a possible alternate suspect, a man who had been committing similar crimes in a similar fashion in the same neighborhood. Cline has not tested the evidence against anyone else, including that man, Lawrence Hawes. Hawes said in an interview that DNA and other forensics would not match him.

Washington's lawsuit alleges that Cline and the police knew that testing the evidence against others would reveal a match with Hawes. The lawsuit cites no basis for that allegation, and it is not clear from a review of the case records whether that would be the case.

0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Sep, 2011 07:44 am
@gungasnake,
You've expressed the source of my ambivalence concerning the death penalty: Fundamentally, I am not comfortable with the State being able to legally kill its citizens.

Not everyone will agree with your assessment of the injustices committed in the cases you've cited, but there is ample evidence of prosecutorial misconduct in wide range of cases involving a wide range of defendants to support your point.

Whether or not it actually serves as a deterrent, has been buried under numerous conflicting studies, but, in my opinion, that's the least of the reasons to support the death penalty.

The cost issue is something of a red herring as without innumerable appeals, it's cheaper to execute prisoners rather than imprison them for life, and, in any case, if capital punishment is a necessary element of bringing justice to certain criminals, we should spend the money on it.

I don't object to capital punishment or moral grounds either. If you take someone's life you are robbing them of everything they have or ever can have. The extent of the crime is even more pronounced if you do not subscribe to a belief system that promises a hereafter. Those guilty of such crimes have, in my opinion, forfeited their own right to life. Retribution is, in and of itself, an appropriate goal.

However, as you have noted, we can't expect or trust the State to unfailingly pursue justice in each and every criminal case. Even if we were comfortable with the State having the legal right to kill its citizens who are guilty of crimes we agree deserve the death penalty, we cannot rely upon it to do so without error, unintentional or intentional.

If the State is going to wield God-like power over its citizens, then it needs to have God-like omniscience, which of course it does not. Better for all of us if we sacrifice some measure of retribution for the necessary imposition of limits placed on the only entity which we can even consider for this power.

Allowing the victims of heinous crimes to deliver justice to the perpetrators may seem like perfect retribution and is emotionally very satisfying, but aside from the fact that the victims will err at least as often as the State, members of a society that has the Rule of Law as its foundation, must surrender the dispensing of justice and retribution to the larger society.

Of course people can always choose to operate outside of the laws of their society, but they can't choose to not be subject to them. Vigilantes make for good comic book and movie heroes, but destructive members of society.
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Sep, 2011 07:49 am
@Finn dAbuzz,
Finn dAbuzz wrote:
You've expressed the source of my ambivalence concerning the death penalty:
Fundamentally, I am not comfortable with the State being able to legally kill its citizens.
If not, then morally,
the citizen's individual rights of vengeance will revert to the victim
or to his survivors. The victim has a moral, logical right to get even.





David
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Sep, 2011 08:00 am
@OmSigDAVID,
I addressed that point in my post.

By being a member of a society based on the rule of law, the victim has ceded any moral or logical right to "get even" to society.

 

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