Friday, September 23, 2011

917 Reasonable Doubt

917 Reasonable Doubt

Georgia doesn’t want to be Florida.  Or maybe Georgia just doesn’t want to be thought of as Florida.   

In any case, two criminal cases with opposite outcomes, one in each state, seem to be based on the same basic premise, summarized here as “Evidence?  What evidence?”

Casey Anthony skates on a toddler killing because a jury of her peers decides evidence is too thin to convict.  Troy Davis gets executed because a parole board decides the lack of evidence is too thin to call it off.

Davis died when all of his appeals, recanted witness testimony and the appeals of the anti-death penalty folk got nowhere.  An off duty cop was shot dead in a Savannah parking lot in 1989, and Davis was convicted a couple of years later, though there was no physical evidence connecting him to the shooting.  No gun.  No shells.  No DNA, no nothing.  Just a bunch of iffy witnesses, many who have since retracted some or all of what they said on the stand.

Georgia figures it’d look lousy if it followed the lead of the Orlando jury that spared Anthony.  Tough cookies, those Georgians.  Not gonna let dumb doubts get in the way.  Plus they already bought the chemicals and the needle.

Florida probably did, too.  What’s the shelf life of the death cocktail?  Do the IV bags say “Best before 10/1/11?” Money is tight.  Unnecessary spending has to be curtailed.  And one Confederate state has to show another it has more spine.

Does it make a difference that one defendant was a hot white babe and the other was an ordinary looking black man?  Probably some, but that wasn’t likely the main factor.

Would Davis have been spared if his date with death were scheduled before Anthony was declared not guilty?  Maybe.  Impossible to tell.

So there are protests in Georgia as there were in Florida.  And then we’ll all walk away and get back to whatever we were doing before we became consumed with these cases.

But the Davis execution points out a flaw in use of the death penalty.  Reasonable doubt should not be the standard for its application.  Some doubt may be enough.


Shrapnel:

--Go Yankees!  They took the AL-East crown with a tie breaking run in the 8th against Tampa Bay.  Was bringing the aging Jorge Posada off the bench just dumb luck or a smart move?

--Speaking of hits, Simon Cowell’s “X” factor show makes American Idol pale by comparison and comparison’s inevitable.  “X” is faster moving, much more watchable and Simon has trimmed his lah-di-dah crankiness just a bit.  This show is going to score big because it’s Idol without the yawns.

--And speaking of scoring big, Mike Bloomberg lands at number 12 on this year’s Forbes 400 Richest with 19.5 billion.  Most notable figure to drop from the list:  Berkshire’s Chas. Munger who gave a lot of his wealth to his children after the recent death of his wife.  But rest easy, the usual suspects top the list:  Gates, Buffett,  the Koch Bros. and a whole lot of people named Walton.

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com
© WJR 2011

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

It was a cop. Innocence or guilt was not the point. Somebody had to pay.

And, once the investigation gets rolling, it's not a matter of guilt, it's a matter of who looks most guilty, who can it most likely be pinned on, then, somebody had to pay.

How much money is spent on the various organs of the administration of justice? De fence attorneys, prosecutors office, court personnel, police? At what point can they say to the boys in blue, "We might not have the right guy here?" Aint gonna happen.

And, instead of Troy Davis, it could almost as easily be some no-account white trash. Think about that all you so-called 'Christians' who spit in the face of 'Thou Shall Not Kill'.

Anonymous said...

But to 917, it is a sad damn situation, all the intimidation the righties whip up by their public killings. Some things just tend to stand the test of time very well.
What's the fundamental problem??? Is it that the American Commoners won't respond to anything other than fear of torture and death and other bad shit coming from on high?
It may be the consensus of the American Aristocracy that continued fear has a favorable cost-benefit. Capitol punishment is proof positive that the Europeans have managed to pull themselves up a rung on the evolutionary ladder.