The Reality of Troy Davis
September 23, 2011 4:42 pm
Can you believe the state of Georgia executed a man where 7 of the 9 witnesses against him recanted? If you find that hard to swallow, you should; it’s simply not true. The reality is that 34 witnesses testified against Davis - 34. It is true that 7 of them altered their testimony in some way; however, those alterations included:
- 2 statements with subtle differences before the trial; these discrepancies were both addressed during the trial, and the witnesses did not say they lied or were coerced at all.
- 2 statements were impossible to believe (according to the judge); they didn’t match with the other testimony, and one of them even conflicted with Davis’ mother’s testimony.
- 2 came from affidavits where the defense refused to put the affiants on the stand, rendering them unable to be cross-examined. The judge did not allow this.
- 1 was a credible recantation, but the judge felt his testimony was of limited value for the prosecution.
So, rather than 78% (7/9) of the witnesses recanting, as claimed in the popular version of the story (picked up and perpetrated by those who are philosophically opposed to the death penalty in any case), we’re looking at 3% (1/34) of the witnesses recanting. Now, for those who are opposed to the death penalty, that’s still 3% too much; but, when you have someone who shot someone else once to knock them down, then came back and shot them again, while standing at point-blank range above them - 3% is within the margin of error. Even if everyone opposed to death penalty lied to keep him alive, you’d expect the percentage to be higher than that.
I know that many of my friends are feeling sorrow and anger over this execution; hopefully having the facts will help you feel less sorrow or anger. In this case, you may object to the method, but know that it was not applied inappropriately in this case.