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Hello. Come on in. The daddy writes about current events, literature, music and, once in a while, drops something on you from back in the day to make you pause and ponder, stop and stare, and begin to wonder. Who knows? You may start to pace the floor, shake your head from side to side, then fall down on bended knees in a praying position and cry, "Lawd, have mercy! What is this world coming to?" Check yourself! But this blog is NOT about the daddy. It's about you: your boos, your fam, your hood, your country...our hopes and dreams of a better tomorrow. So let's make a pact: the daddy will put it on the track if you'll chase it down and hit him back. Together, we can definitely take it to another level. Shall we?"

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Cynthia Tucker says, "To be fair, review the Troy Davis Case"

"Our circle of care should be inclusive, broad, wide. I invite everyone here to widen your circle of care and concern. Have the same care for others that you have for yourself...King and Gandhi didn’t need to wait for certain power, they didn’t need to wait for special titles. These leaders were restless in enlarging their circle of care.”

--Daniel Melhern


Listen up. One person The Daddy admires very much is Cynthia Tucker, the Pulitzer prize winning columnist for the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Like U.S. mail, Tucker delivers.Whether it's on the fights in the Martin Luther King family or the violent influence of hip hop culture, a Sistah kicks truth-- whether folks are ready to hear it or not.

Today, The Daddy is feeling her column on the Troy Davis case. Here's what she had to say today in the Atlanta Journal Constitution:


To be fair, review the Davis case

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Iraqis were outraged by the decision of a federal jury last month to spare the life of a U.S. soldier who was the ringleader of a group that gang-raped a 14-year-old Iraqi girl in her home and then murdered her parents and 6-year-old sister to cover up the crime. You need not be a fan of the death penalty — and I’m not — to question the sentence. If there is to be a death penalty, doesn’t such a crime demand it?

Apparently, there were jurors who disagreed. When the jury deadlocked on the sentence, the law dictated the lesser penalty of life without parole. Capital punishment is too weighty a matter to be determined by a less-than-unanimous vote.

But even jurors’ unanimity does not guarantee justice. The death penalty is arbitrary and capricious, subject to common prejudices and casual errors, influenced by race and class, gender and geography. Those are among the reasons that the U.S. Supreme Court should give Troy Davis, sentenced to death for the August 1989 murder of Savannah police officer Mark Allen MacPhail, the chance to be heard in federal court.

Since the trial, several key witnesses have recanted or contradicted their testimony, claiming they were pressured by the police to implicate Davis or intimidated by another man who may be guilty of the crime. Most chilling is the recollection of Tonya Johnson, who says she didn’t tell police all she knew back then. She now says that she saw a man running from the direction of the shooting that night and that she saw him hide two guns behind the screen door of an abandoned apartment next door.

According to Davis’ attorneys, that man was Nathaniel Sylvester Coles, a small-time thug whom they believe Johnson feared too much to tell the truth. It was Coles who first fingered Davis, coolly strolling into a police station hours after the murder, accompanied by a lawyer, to identify Davis as the shooter. And it was atop that dubious testimony that police mounted their case.

For the full story, check: http://www.ajc.com/opinion/content/opinion/tucker/stories/2009/06/07/tucked_0607.html

14 comments:

Robster said...

Amen to that. I worry every day Troy will be executed before common sense prevails.

MacDaddy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MacDaddy said...

Robster: It seems that witnesses were intimidated by two entities: cops and this guy Sylvester, evidently a bully in the community. Law enforcement could be executing the wrong guy, while the bully continues to walk the streets free. Amazing.

June 8, 2009 12:38 AM

Vigilante said...

Not another day passes but that I come up with yet another argument against the death penalty. But always, the paramount and critical issue (for me) is that executions freeze judicial errors in time and make them irreversible.

MadMike said...

I have made my position rather clear, much to the astonishment of my former colleagues, and that is I am opposed to the death penalty. There is no particular altruistic reason for this, but more with an eye to more severe punishment for those who commit capital offenses. I guarantee that life in prison, in an 8' x 10' cell, 23 hours a day, is a far worse punishment than death.

As to Mr. Davis, it is not unusual for witnesses to step forward at the last minute, especially in death penalty cases. In the vast majority of cases these witnesses are discredited. Regardless, he should not be executed, even if he is guilty. The practice is barbaric and it demeans us as a society.

CareyCarey said...

What's going on in here Daddy?

Hey, an interesting note on Mrs. Tucker's comments. In the case of the Iraq jury, they were arguing his sentence and not his guilt. I wonder why she made those comparisions.

Anyway, I will say that "without a reasonable doubt should apply in the case of Troy Davis. I question Madmike's statement that

"In the vast majority of cases these witnesses are discredited. Regardless, he should not be executed, even if he is guilty"

Vast majority of WHAT cases!? Is there one case exactly like that of Troy Davis's? And what about the less than majority? What was the results of those cases?

Is the real issue ...."subject to common prejudices and casual errors, influenced by race and class, gender and geography" - Cynthia tucker

I mean, is the real isue not about the death penalty and more about his innocence? And thus, shouldn't the above "errors & race" be applied to the law of innocences until proven guilty (without a reasonable doubt).

This should not be about frying, it's about lying.

Vigilante said...

Daddy, please cut me a second swath of column inches in your thread here, to come and support my friend Mad Mike:

When Mike says,

...it is not unusual for witnesses to step forward at the last minute, especially in death penalty cases. In the vast majority of cases these witnesses are discredited.

it seems to me he is making a rather significant point: If it weren't for the fact that the death penalty sentence becomes irreversible at the point it is carried out, there wouldn't be any pressure to present last minute witnesses, likely to be of rather mixed credibility. OTOH, life terms - even those which don't permit reduction - can be overturned. Therefore, the pressure of imminent execution having been removed from the situation, more time is available to discover the most potent neglected witnesses and to adjudicate the most critical legal errors of commission and immission.

Regardless of Mr. Davis' guilt or innocence, his life should not be taken from him.

I still feel society is on trial, as are all of us bystanders who need to do what we can do prevent the state from committing murder.

So, I applaud the efforts of CareyCarey in Davis' behalf.

CareyCarey said...

**walking through the church with finger raised in an excuse me fashion** (some know what I am talking about.

Excuse me Daddy, I "think" Vigilante was patting me on the back but at the same time he said he was coming back to support his friend Mad Mike. I loved math and one-on-one sports. The finish line wasn't cloudy.

Maybe I didn't make myself clear. I thought Mad Mike's statement was saying that since most of "these" type of witnesses in "these" types of cases are unreliable so why bother with that issue, lets just try to save his life.

Through experience I will say that 1 month or 1 year in a jail cell is far more than most men will want to endure. However, being locked up is not like television. In many institutions one couldn't tell a lifer from a person doing 2 years. Prison institutions are a world within a world ....women, sports, drugs, librarys, televison, fools, friends and family.

MIke said: ...it is not unusual for witnesses to step forward at the last minute, especially in death penalty cases. In the vast majority of cases these witnesses are discredited.

Yet, I've read both of Vigilante's posts and he seems to be saying the chair is a final act and therefore it's unreasonable to close our eyes in a case of this nature ..."especially in death penalty cases"

I thought Mr. Mike wasn't looking at the bigger issue of guilt or innocense? I thought he was simply saying don't fry him.

MadMike said...

I too applaud Carey Carey and his devotion to this cause. The fact remains I have a great deal of experience in this theater and it is a fact that witnesses often come forward weeks or days before a scheduled execution to recant or restate original testimony. Invariably the police are accused of some nefarious deeds. That is almost a given and in the vast majority of cases it is not true. The scrutiny involved in death cases is mind-boggling. No one wants to make a mistake yet mistakes are, albeit very rarely, made; another reason for doing away with capital punishment.

Quite frankly, I simply don't know enough about this case to venture into guilt or innocence.

The fact is he was convicted so, by law, he is guilty. Regardless we all know there is a very tiny percentage of people who are wrongfully convicted and I don't know if that the case here. I do know that judges will invariably err on the side of caution so I have no doubt that all information, last minute or not, will be carefully evaluated. It goes without saying that an execution should not go forward if there is the slightest doubt. Nor should there be any punishment if the defendant is exonerated.

Thanks Vigil. You have known me a long time and your evaluation and analysis is most accurate indeed.

MacDaddy said...

CareyCarey, Vigilante, MadMike:
Thanks for your perspectives and an excellent conversation. Maybe we can't agree whether Troy is innocent or guilty of this crime. Perhaps this is because some of us have studied this case longer than others. But Perhaps we can agree that the death penalty is not a deterrent against crime and is archaic and lessens our humanity as a society.

Anonymous said...

I loved the quote you used at the beginning of your blog.

XO said...

Very interesting exchange on this topic and I concur with your final summary. Any idea when we'll hear outcome of this last appeal?

MacDaddy said...

"Any idea on when we'll hear the outcome of this last appeal?"
XO: No idea. Remember that Davis lost his bid for a new evidentiary hearing in two important court rulings, both decided by one-vote margins. In March 2008, the Georgia Supreme Court turned him down in a 4-3 decision. A month ago, the federal appeals court in Atlanta rejected Davis' appeal by a 2-1 vote.Now, it's all up to the Supreme Court, which has given any indication as to when it will rule. Wishing Troy better luck this time.

On April 16, the two federal appeals court judges said they found they were "unpersuaded" by the notion of the recantations. But they said little or anything about the new evidence, such as an eyewitness who said she saw a man running from the scene and hiding two guns in a house nearby.

Also, Judge Rosemary Barkett, the lone dissenter of three judges in the April 16th decision, said she felt that to execute Davis in a case where there is so much doubt about his guilt was "unconscionable" and "unconstitutional."

Let's hope the U.S. Supreme Court sends the case back to the federal court for a new evidentiary hearing, including the new evidence that hasn't heard so far.

rainywalker said...

Troy Davis need a new trial. The soldier in question in my mind should be hung out to dry. But when he gets to the federal pen his life is going to be a Hell. From prisoners and guards. There are legal questions about Mr. Davis that need answers before anyone does anything. I do believe in capital punishment but only when there is no doubt. None. Jurys have a problem with doubt and minorities.