Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Some Good News About Troy Davis

Occasional readers of this blog may already know the story of Troy Davis, serving time on death row in Georgia, and of my personal interest in his cause. I found the recent directive by the Supreme Court that a Georgia court reconsider his case to be not only hopeful but reaffirming of my own sense of the situation. The justices were not, of course, unanimous in their decision. It may be worth highlighting opposing points of view.

Here's Justice Stevens on the matter:“The substantial risk of putting an innocent man to death clearly provides an adequate justification for holding an evidentiary hearing.”

But then here is Justice Scalia: "This court has never held that the Constitution forbids the execution of a convicted defendant who had a full and fair trial but is later able to convince a habeas court that he is ‘actually’ innocent.”

I'm sure Justice Scalia and I don't match up very well on our ideas of jurisprudence in general, and I'm also sure he knows a lot more about matters of law than I do. Nevertheless, it was odd reading his statement just as I was in the midst of reading a novel of suspense by Tom Rob Smith called Child 44, which is set in the Stalinist era of Russia. True, it's 'just a novel', but I think Smith probably pretty well understands the mindset of those who are willing to sacrifice the innocent for some greater good. There are a great many people in Russia who "failed thrive" under such a mentality.

If Troy Davis is "actually" innocent, then he is actually innocent. And he should not only be "actually" set free, he should actually be set free.

Good luck to you, Troy, in presenting your case. For anyone who would like to be further involved, please go here.


  1. Scalia is really a treat, isn't he?
    Let's hope for the better. Do you plan to organize a teach-in?

  2. I downloaded the PDF file, but I really am not sure what I am going to do with it yet. Personally, I'm more about educating my friends than a sitting at a table person. As is unfortunately sometimes the case with Amnesty, I don't quite understand the relevance of a teach-in at this moment. Troy has his day in court, and I don't know what good outside pressureon the courts, especially from left wing California actually accomplishes.


  3. Well, I'm an activist -the idea of informing people about things "they may have missed" and maybe motivating them to do something or follow the case. More public attention can't be bad.
    Some may not be interested in listening to you, some may discover they are.
    The important thing, seems to suggest my v-word, is to be informative and not to prech.

  4. I think you're right. I've been more focused on what it means personally for Troy and less on the fact that this issue in the abstract is equally important. And that should be what my 'educating' will be around.