Cameron Turner

*Unlike Amnesty International and some of the other groups and individuals protesting the death sentence affirmed Troy Davis case, I am not philosophically opposed to capital punishment.

I believe that some crimes are so vicious and so vast in their impact that death is the appropriate penalty.  However, this ultimate sentence should only be imposed when there is clear, undeniable proof of guilt.  No such proof exists against Troy Davis, and that is why the State of Georgia’s decision to execute him is an appalling, miscarriage of justice!

Last summer, the US Supreme Court ordered the State of Georgia to hold a special hearing to examine new evidence in the Troy Davis case.  During that hearing, 7 out of 9 witnesses who originally identified Davis as the killer of Savannah, Georgia police officer Mark MacPhail recanted their testimony.  Some said police pressured them to blame Davis, and others fingered a different man as the shooter.

Those and other findings prompted former FBI director Williams Sessions to argue that Troy Davis should not be executed, and that his sentence should be commuted to life in prison.  Sessions stated in an op-ed piece for the Atlanta Journal Constitution last week:

“…the evidence in this case — consisting almost entirely of conflicting stories, testimonies and statements — is inadequate to      the task of convincingly establishing either Davis’ guilt or his innocence. Without DNA or other forms of physical or scientific evidence that can be objectively measured and tested, it is possible that doubts about guilt in this case will never be resolved.  However, when it comes to the sentence of death, there should be no room for doubt. I believe there is no more serious crime than the murder of a law enforcement officer who was putting his or her life on the line to protect innocent bystanders. However, justice is not done for Officer Mark Allen MacPhail Sr. if the wrong man is punished.”

The death penalty has its place in our criminal justice system.  But when it is applied wrongfully, as in the Troy Davis case, capital punishment loses all validity as a form of justice and becomes, simply, criminal.

Thank you for listening.  I’m Cameron Turner and that’s my two cents.