Troy Davis execution demonstrates failings of capital punishment

Twitter exploded Wednesday night with #riptroydavis hashtags and cries of outrage that continued after the news that Troy Davis had been declared dead via lethal injection. This execution brings the flaws of our judicial system to light and shows just how high a price can be paid when the system fails.

Davis’ execution occurred, despite overwhelming evidence defending his innocence and multiple appeals. The judicial system failed and now a man is dead because of it, begging the question of who gets to make the call of whether someone should live or die.

Davis was convicted in 1991 for the murder of an off-duty police officer, Mark MacPhail, who was working as a security guard at the time. No gun was ever recovered, but the casings found were argued to be linked to an earlier shooting which Davis was convicted for.

Since his original conviction, several of the eyewitnesses who testified have recanted their statements and implicated another man who was present that evening.

The execution was carried out after an eleventh hour request for a stay and the Supreme Court denied the hold on the execution. Davis’ execution had already been stopped three times since 2007, but it just wasn’t enough this time even though it should have been.

Eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable to begin with, but the fact that seven of nine key witnesses changed all or parts of their original testimony should have been enough to arouse reasonable doubt of the guilty conviction. At the very least, these holes in the original conviction warranted an act of leniency by the Georgia justice system, but the cries were ignored.

Clearly those who were given the power to take a man’s life away failed to see the changes in the evidence that was presented.

It’s appalling that a man’s life had to be sacrificed, but maybe now citizens will wake up and fight for justice for a system that is capable of seeing the error of its ways.