Another dubious murder conviction to be punished by death

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Calboner, Sep 21, 2011.

  1. Calboner

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    Troy Davis was convicted of murder in Georgia in 1991 on the testimony of nine witnesses, seven of whom subsequently changed or recanted their testimony. Yesterday, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles refused to grant clemency. He is to be put to death today, September 21, 2011, at 7:00 p.m.

    More at Wikipedia


     
  2. Jason

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    There has been quite a bit of UK coverage of this story. Three thoughts:

    1) This particular case is one where a degree of doubt over guilt does seem to exist. If it turns out subsequently that he is innocent then this will be remembered as a particularly shocking murder of an innocent man.

    2) Irrespective of his guilt or innocence, the universal values enshrined in the International Declaration of Human Rights - to which the USA is a signatory - make judicial murder a crime against humanity. The USA is flouting the terms of a treaty which it has signed. Proper action would be either to comply with the treaty or withdraw.

    3) The IDHR sets out that prosecution of crimes against humanity wherever committed are the responsibility of all nations and all individuals. It rarely suits nations to speak out against the mighty USA. However changing legal practices - for example the assertion of universal jurisdiction by the courts in England - mean that sooner or later there will be a private prosecution for judicial murder committed in the USA, perhaps of the Governor of Georgia. The scenario is that while on a visit to the UK the Governor would be charged, arrested and tried in the UK through a private prosecution.
     
  3. Klingsor

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    I might not object to such an action. But it *really* wouldn't fly well in the U.S! Just be sure you're ready for the international shit storm it would generate! :smile:
     
  4. Calboner

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    From what I have read, it does not look as though there is any positive evidence that Davis is innocent, but the case against him is full of holes. It even rests on the classic "jailhouse snitch," the criminal inmate with a record of false testimony and a clear interest in giving such testimony in this instance, who testifies that the accused confessed the crime to him--and then later confesses that he was (big surprise) lying, but whose recantation is disregarded by the review board. Prosecutors have a long record of insisting on sticking a crime on the person on whom they originally fixed regardless of contrary evidence, as is appallingly revealed in great detail in the book Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts. From a review:

     
  5. dandelion

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    Isnt this why the US has refused to sign reciprocal extradition agreements?
     
  6. Klingsor

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    I don't know how it is elsewhere, but people in the U.S. are not at all used to the idea of other countries or organizations telling them what to do. We think we're free to do as we please, both at home and abroad, without any intervention by the international community. When someone tells us otherwise, we don't handle it very well.

    Not hard to understand. When you've been at the top of the food chain for a while, it's just how you look at things.
     
  7. Domisoldo

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    I am not proud of this facet of the US justice system. Come to think of it, it may not even be a "system", since justice seems to be meted out inconsistently and unpredictably, and the rules. when they exist, differ from ZIP code to ZIP code.

    I signed the petition hoping that it would be in vain, because the GA Board of Pardons and Paroles would bow under international and domestic pressure anyway, given the very troubling flaws in this particular case.
     
  8. Redwyvre

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    Doesn't make sense the US signed a treaty prohibiting judicial murder. Where it's legal it's a fairly common practice. I'm opposed to this practice and would not want my property tax and sales tax dollars used to kill people, even the really heinous ones.
     
  9. monel

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    First, I personally do not agree with the death penalty. I also think that enough doubt exists in this particular case to warrant at least a stay of execution.

    However, lets not sensationalize the case unnecessarily. Even were it to be later demonstrated that Davis was innocent of the crime for which he was convicted, his having been put to death would not constitute judicial murder as defined by any International Civil Rights Agreement. Therefore no charge for a Crime Against Humanity could be maintained against either the State of Georgia or the USA.
     
  10. Jason

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    The Treaty is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which the USA has signed. This asserts a right to life (article three). There are no restrictions whatsoever on this right, and copious international case law has demonstrated that what the USA calls the death penalty is illegal under international law. In Europe there is a tradition of calling the death penalty "assasins juridique" (Voltaire's term, so from the C18th) or in English "judicial murder". The European usage stresses that any deliberate killing is murder - it cannot be a "penalty".

    International law can be enforced in many legal jurisdictions. We are all familiar with war crimes trials at The Hague. The UK has asserted universal jurisdiction for English courts for human rights issues, and a human rights case which occured in the USA could be tried in the UK. It would be appropriate if for example the US judiciary murdered a British subject, and I think there is little doubt that the UK government would back such a move. In theory a private prosecution is possible, though expensive.

    I don't think there would be any legal difficulty whatsoever in maintaining a crime against humanity against the person with ultimate responsibility for authorising judicial murder, presumably the state governor - or perhaps the President. A lesson of the Second World War is that no country must ever again be able to say "we are answerable to no-one outside our nation". Crimes can be prosecuted outside of a nation even when they do not break the law of that nation.

    Of course judicial murder also breaks the law of God: "thou shalt not kill" and "love they neighbour as thyself". It breaches the moral code of many of the great faiths, and the law of almost all nations. Judicial murder shames the USA.
     
  11. TomCat84

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    The U.S. has an extradition treaty with Mexico- a country that does not have the death penalty. Prosecutors here merely have to agree to not seek the death penalty in those cases.
     
  12. TomCat84

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    While I'm against the death penatly in most cases, I'm also against Europeans like you using European case law to say we are wrong. I could point to anti Muslim laws in Europe and say YOU are wrong.
     
  13. arkfarmbear

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    There is an old cliche that a democrat is a former republican who has been through our "justice" system.
    Men who have tangled with the IRS or divorce proceedings often end up broke, cynical and embittered.
     
  14. b.c.

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    We as Americans and our government have on more than one occasion exercised our opinions on "human rights" and other such questions with regard to what occurs in other countries. So now are we saying that the "court of world opinion" does not matter in the reverse, and that we're somehow above the opinion of foreigners... above reproach?? FUCK THAT, I say.

    The legalities, technical jargon, and nitpicking bullshit as to whether Georgia can be charged with a "crime against humanity" notwithstanding, the larger question is that of whether justice is truly served when our judicial system rushes to judgment in killing Davis, in spite of (apparently substantial) evidence that the testimony was at the very least faulty... possibly false, and coerced.

    Furthermore what possible satisfaction could the family of the other murder victim (I say "other" because given the circumstances, this so-called execution is clearly murder) get in knowing that the person guilty of the crime may be someplace laughing his ass off??

    I frankly didn't see what all the rush was. Why not re-open the case and investigate further? Where was Davis going to go?

    Needless to say, my opinion of our justice system is certainly diminished... not that I thought that highly of it in the first place.
     
  15. TomCat84

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    Might makes right for right now I guess. Though I do look forward to Jason being as strident in his denunciations (sp?) of the death penalty when I post a news story about China putting someone to death.
     
  16. NYCdude

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    Perhaps Troy Davis can become our Mohamed Bouazizi. Our financial system is broken. Our justice system has long been broken. What are we doing?
     
  17. Mr. Snakey

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    #17 Mr. Snakey, Sep 22, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2011
  18. Jason

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    I condemn judicial murder wherever it is practiced. It is very hard for western nations to persuade China to take human rights seriously all the time the USA is flouting them.

    The list of nations actually practicing judicial murder is not a group in whose company the USA would usually like to find itself. The practice is beyond defence.

    There is a worrying cultural issue where many in the USA do not appear to accept that the USA is answerable to any court outside the USA. Human rights are universal values, and we now have global systems to police them. It is possible that Gadaffi will be charged outside Libya on human rights issues; possible even that one day leaders of Syria, Iran and Sudan will be charged outside their nations. The global system does not exclude the more powerful countries from human rights. Sooner or later some activist is going to frame a charge against a US signatory to judicial murder and get an international arrest warrant put out.
     
  19. slurper_la

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  20. D_Tim McGnaw

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    And of course the burden of proof is on the prosecution to prove that beyond reasonable doubt there is positive evidence that the defendant is guilty, the defendant does not have to provide positive evidence of innocence.
     
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