Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Save troy davis's life

  1. Oct 15, 2008 #1

    mathwonk

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    2015 Award

    Here in Georgia we are awaiting action by authorities to execute a young black man, Troy Davis for murder to which he has never been linked by any hard evidence of any kind.
    Although 9 eyewitnesses once implicated him, 7 of them now say otherwise, some say they were pressured by police to lie, and others say they heard or saw one of the last two holdout witnesses actually admit the murder.

    Indeed the man who first implicated Mr Davis may well be the guilty party.

    The US supreme court has just declined to even hear the case, without comment, but the execution could still be halted by the Georgia board of pardons.

    Letters of petition are being solicited by Amnesty International on their website:

    http://www.amnestyusa.org/death-penalty/page.do?id=1011005




    I have just sent this letter:

    To whom it may concern,


    I ask out of simple justice for either a permanent stay of the execution of Mr Troy Davis,

    or a new trial. In light of what everyone in the world knows now about this case, it

    is inconceivable to conclude that he has been convincingly proved to be guilty.

    The best that can be said, given the witnesses' two versions of the event,

    is that we are not sure who did it.

    In this situation to actually execute someone is a particularly barbarous act,

    recalling the old days of injustice toward all people of color in Georgia in the

    1960's and before.




    Please join me and many other people of conscience. It seems difficult, but we might save a man's life of whose guilt there is little or no evidence.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 15, 2008 #2

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Will do, mathwonk. Regardless of his guilt or innocence, I no longer support the death penalty. Given the number of convictions that have been reversed based on DNA evidence, it is evident that many innocent people have been murdered in the name of justice.

    I also now believe that no Government should ever have the power to execute its citizens.

    Beyond that, if you say there is reasonable doubt, then all the more reason to take a few minutes and fire off a letter.
     
  4. Oct 15, 2008 #3

    mathwonk

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    2015 Award

    ladies and gentlemen, is it possible you have not heard about this case? even desmond tutu is on board here. we are not talking about arguing over which analysis book is best for beginning students, but about an execution. "the force" will be diminished by an irretrievable amount if that occurs. and not only people in georgia will be culpable. please read up on this.

    this is your chance to join the struggle that occurred when you were in your infancy and those of us now in our dotage were marching and changing america.
     
  5. Oct 15, 2008 #4

    mathwonk

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    2015 Award

    the math here is disturbing: 100 times as many people per day care about the economy as care about saving a man's life?

    The same thing happened in the 60's: most people did not demonstrate or put anything on the line. And i was surprised then too.
     
  6. Oct 17, 2008 #5

    mathwonk

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    2015 Award

    Troy Davis's execution has already been rescheduled for October 27. This is a case that even that paragon of tenderness Pope Benedict, has apparently, questioned, along with Desmond Tutu, Jimmy Carter, and Amnesty International.


    If you want to get involved, you have about 9 days left.

    I cannot say he is innocent, but when 7 out of 9 witnesses recant, some claiming police pressure to convict, and others assert that one of the two remaining condemning witnesses, the one who first accused Mr Davis, is himself the killer, and that he actually confessed the crime, it seems only fair to have another hearing.

    Is that asking too much in a death sentence case?

    Recall, this is a case with NO physical evidence, NO DNA evidence, and NO confession (except reportedly by one of the remaining witnesses).

    The conviction was obtained entirely on the basis of witness testimony, 7/9 of which has been recanted. Are we still living in the 1950's?

    If you don't believe there is still strong entrenched bias against minorities, see the related article about the head of a republican women's organization in CA who distributed a caricature of Obama next to a bucket of fried chicken and a watermelon.

    Georgia is not demonstrably friendlier to minorities than California.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2008
  7. Oct 17, 2008 #6

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I hadn't. Now that I have and have read the GASC ruling denying the extrordinary motion for a new hearing, I don't see this to be a compelling case that calls for my action. I can't be certain that he's guilty, but the GASC's reasoning for not allowing a new trial at such a late hour sounds pretty reasonable. It's not the clear-cut case of an innocent man about to be executed that many are presenting it to be.

    http://www.gasupreme.us/pdf/s07a1758.pdf
    What basis is there for your assertion that race is a factor here?
     
  8. Oct 17, 2008 #7
    Dear Russ,
    if you think this country should execute those of whom we CAN'T be certain of their guilt, what if any would be a good reason for postponing an execution?

    Remember that the request here is for postponement not necessarily releasing this man from prison.

    You linked a 27 page report, could you specify what reason given by the GASC you specifically are in agreement with. It would also be refreshing sometimes if you would let you own conscience speak instead of robotically agreeing with the ruling of the Georgian supreme court.

    I agree with you that I don't see a racially motivated ruling here.
     
  9. Oct 17, 2008 #8

    mathwonk

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    2015 Award

    do you see any racial motivation behind the fact that the emmett till case has never been successfully prosecuted in over 50 years in spite of the main suspects confessing to the crime? do you think it is accidental that race is apparently still a good predictor of which defendants will receive death sentences in the south?
     
  10. Oct 17, 2008 #9

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I said I. I wasn't on the jury. I don't know everything they knew. Also, there is no "certain" in this anyway.
    It isn't like this is his first appeal. How many postponements should he get?
    It went through the evidence, witnesses, and recantings one by one. However, there are probably two main points:

    -Recanting testimony does not automatically make the testimony invalid.
    -The actual testimony was compelling, meaning that there were a lot of pieces to the puzzle that fit together into the bigger picture. The recantings were non-specific and unhelpful. They didn't offer new evidence, just took back what was said.
    I read the ruling and you didn't and you're saying I'm robotically agreeing with someone!?!? C'mon!
     
  11. Oct 17, 2008 #10

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Misleading the way you put that, since double-jepoardy applies, but perhaps there was. So what? What does that have to do with the topic at hand?
    No. Again, what does that have to do with the case at hand?
     
  12. Oct 18, 2008 #11
    OK, fair enough at least this makes it more clear.

    It just sounds strange that you are doubting the guilt of this man, but at the same time ( rather poorly supported) are convinced that the GASC ruling should be upheld. I for one would argue that those two statements do not seem in agreement.
     
  13. Oct 18, 2008 #12
    As many as necessary to prevent even the slightest change of executing an innocent man!
     
  14. Oct 20, 2008 #13

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    You are misunderstanding the criteria by which those two statements are arrived. They are not at all incompatible.

    I included that line because if I didn't, I knew I'd get a 'but how can you be completely sure...?' in response. Whether intentional or because of a misunderstanding of the issue, people play games with the standard of proof (see your next post!). Heck, even if I was on the jury, I wouldn't be allowed to use a standard of absolute certainty to convict.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2008
  15. Oct 20, 2008 #14

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Well, since that is clearly a physical impossibility, why don't you say what you really mean: that there should be no death penalty.
     
  16. Oct 20, 2008 #15
    Just sent the e-mail too.

    The Netherlands does not have a death penalty which is very fortunate. In the last couple of years, two major errs of the state's justice system were reversed. It pertained a brutal rape and kill, of which two guys were convicted (Puttense moordzaak). However when the DNA method became common, the case was re-examined and the two proved to be innocent beyond any doubt. With the death penalty it would have been too late to right the wrong.

    in another case it pertained a nurse in a care taking centre. The unusual number of deaths of patients always happened whe she was on duty. That was just about all the evidence, which got her convicted. lateron it was proven that this was not statistically as unlikely as it has been assumed. So there was no case at all. Just coincidence.
     
  17. Oct 20, 2008 #16

    Art

    User Avatar

    Ditto
     
  18. Oct 20, 2008 #17

    Art

    User Avatar

    Are you saying you support the death penalty even if it results from time to time in an innocent person being executed?
     
  19. Oct 20, 2008 #18

    Astronuc

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I sent an email through Amnesty International.

    I oppose the death penalty.
     
  20. Oct 20, 2008 #19
    Given the lack of physical evidence, they should not be in such a hurry to put this man to death. My letter is sent.
     
  21. Oct 20, 2008 #20

    LURCH

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    I have sent mine, too. Just a question; have all the letters sent so far contained refferences to race (like the comment about justice and "persons of color" in the OP)?
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?



Similar Discussions: Save troy davis's life
  1. Save Zimbabwe! (Replies: 50)

  2. Save The Big Three? (Replies: 336)

  3. Save Journalism? (Replies: 87)

Loading...