Troy Davis Denied Clemency

September 20, 2011 9:02 am

by Buzz Brockway · 52 comments

In a case that’s garnered international attention, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole has denied clemency for Troy Davis. The execution could come as early as Wednesday.

Calls for Davis to be spared execution have been made by numerous dignitaries, including former President Jimmy Carter, Pope Benedict XVI, former FBI Director William Sessions, former Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Norman Fletcher and Larry Thompson, the former deputy U.S. attorney general. Davis’ advocates, including Amnesty International and the NAACP, have used social media to rally worldwide support. Last week, Davis’ supporters presented the parole board with the names of more than 663,000 people asking that Davis be granted clemency.

This is the fourth time the state of Georgia has set an execution date for Davis. On three prior occasions, he was granted stays — twice just hours before his execution was to be carried out.

On one occasion, the U.S. Supreme Court stepped in and ordered an extraordinary hearing, giving Davis the chance to clearly establish he was an innocent man. But a Savannah judge, after hearing two days of testimony, ultimately ruled that while Davis’ new evidence “cast some additional, minimal doubt on his conviction, it is largely smoke and mirrors.”

His legal appeals are exhausted, so his latest last-ditch effort before the parole board appears to be his last chance to be spared execution.

Dave September 20, 2011 at 9:08 am

Great decision! Davis was this year’s version of Tookie Williams, the CA killer who became the most recent cause celebre for the liberals. Remember Mike Farrell bleating a few years ago to “save Tookie…” He was a killer, just like Troy, and got exactly what he deserved. Barring any last minute drama, Troy will finally depart this earth Wednesday.

Max Power September 20, 2011 at 9:11 am

How do you know Davis is a killer?

Dave September 20, 2011 at 9:22 am

Well, Max, he was convicted of murder in several cases. How’s that?

Cassandra September 20, 2011 at 11:16 am

Celebrating Death?

“I’ve never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure.” – Mark Twain.

GB101 September 20, 2011 at 11:56 am

Not celebrating death. Desiring justice.

Cassandra September 20, 2011 at 12:16 pm

Then, “Great decision!” should be “Justice served”

The biggest round of applause in the first GOP debate revolved around a pro-death penalty remark. That is a sad endorsement for my GOP.

Face it, the death penalty will always be a GOP vote getter because it resonates with the popular, yet incongruous, logic that by killing convicted murderers assures they will never kill again.

Last week, somebody actually equated the fact that prosecuting death penalty cases cost more than cases stipulating ‘life without the possibility of parole’ due to endless appeals. We all have gotten used to the fact that our government and justice systems operate fairly objectively. Why then are endless appeals needed? “Just get it over and done with in thirty days,” opined a blogger.

The systems in place are designed to protect everyone, including the unpopular and poor, when the system is not working objectively. Like the Duke rape case where a politically motivated District Attorney almost railroaded some boys into the joint.

“It could never happen to me.” Right?

Buzz Brockway September 20, 2011 at 12:23 pm

The applause at the GOP debate was because they knew where Brian Williams’ question was headed.

ZazaPachulia September 20, 2011 at 12:49 pm

uh huh… Nice try Buzz, but I don’t think so.

Cassandra September 20, 2011 at 1:01 pm

That’s not how I heard it, Representative Brockway.

Buzz Brockway September 20, 2011 at 1:13 pm

It’s how I heard it and when Brian Williams asked Perry if he “struggled to sleep at night” it confirmed my suspicion about the question.

Reasonable folks can disagree about whether or not we should have the death penalty but supporting it, even in this case, doesn’t mean we’re “celebrating death.”

Dave September 20, 2011 at 1:23 pm

Buzz, I wonder if Williams would ever dare ask a Dem if they wrestled with their conscious for supporting the right to have an abortion, a procedure that has stopped the developmental gestation progress of over 20 million potential human beings? I think not. I think Williams thought this up in the green room, put a hand over his mouth and giggled like a school boy with his apparent ‘gotcha’ question.

Cassandra September 20, 2011 at 2:23 pm

Rep. Brockway:

Your point is supported here:

and denied here:

Salon and Brian Williams lose, their points are vapid, inconsequential, and veer from objectivity, in my opinion.

I reviewed the actual debate, and yet cannot tell if the audience was reacting to Williams clear bias. Subtle point, a GOP audience only ‘appeared’ to ‘celebrate death.’

Knowing the difference between what was said and why a reaction was formed is important, yet appearances are often all voters consider. That just happened with me, I just recalled the audience reaction and was appalled by it.

Subtleties like this reinforce division between Americans. Few voters are inclined or have the time to ferret out the truth.

Dave September 20, 2011 at 9:23 am

Oh, you mean Davis. Sorry, misread. Well, Max, cause he was convicted of murder. How’s that?

Max Power September 20, 2011 at 10:00 am

But juries make mistakes. It happens all the time. So once again, how do you know Davis is a killer?

Dave September 20, 2011 at 10:09 am

Let’s flip the question back at you, Max. How do you know he’s innocent?

Max Power September 20, 2011 at 10:20 am

I don’t. But I don’t want to let him go free.

Dave September 20, 2011 at 10:10 am

And former witnesses make mistakes. Happens all the time…

William Satterwhite September 20, 2011 at 10:14 am

Except for the one witness who may have committed the murder himself?

Dave September 20, 2011 at 10:20 am

Max, he was convicted. His pleas for clemency have all been denied by all of the courts and parole boards where evidence and recanted witness testimony was presented. He did it. He will die on Wednesday. You can bring that nitwit Carter, the Pope, Barr and whomever else and all the signature boxes of anti capital punishment activists you like and it won’t change the fact that he did it. And tomorrow, hopefully, he will die and justice will have been served. Godspeed to the family of the murdered cop.

Max Power September 20, 2011 at 10:23 am

But you really don’t know he did it, do you? You simply believe he did it. We overuse the death penalty in this country and sooner or later, we will execute an innocent (if we haven’t already) and that blood will be on all our hands.

Ed September 20, 2011 at 10:25 am

Just out of curiosity… what will you say if, for example, three years from now someone comes out and admits they are the real killer of Mark Allen MacPhail?

Dave September 20, 2011 at 12:10 pm

Wouda, Couda, Shouda, Ed.

Cassandra September 20, 2011 at 12:19 pm

Dear Lord,

I truly regret my intemperate remarks on those death penalty cases. I ‘Wouda, Couda, Shouda’ [sic] thought the matter over more carefully.


Dave September 20, 2011 at 12:28 pm

Ed, call O.J. You two can look for the ‘real killer’ together!

GB101 September 20, 2011 at 11:55 am

Interesting to me how the usual suspects come out of the woodwork. Some are against the death penalty, period. So for these people it doesn’t matter whether is killed the policeman or not. They do not want him executed. But they pretend they believe that there is doubt about his guilt, and hang their hat on that disingenuous argument.

Chris Huttman September 20, 2011 at 12:05 pm

Just think about how many Kevlar vests the state of Georgia could buy for police officers with the money spent on death penalty appeals etc.

Based on my understanding of the evidence in the Troy Davis case, I am pretty certain he is guilty. His lawyers had the chance to introduce some real doubt in the evidentiary hearing that was granted but didn’t bother calling relevant witnesses to the stand. That said, the death penalty is a waste of money, makes us look poor on the world stage (which maybe we don’t care about since the intra-state incandescent lightbulb industry is about to save our economy) and what should be the ultimate deciding factor doesn’t actually deter crime.

It’s sad that we live in a culture where some people root on death like it was a UGA football game, even when the particular person receiving the death penalty might not be worth rooting for in defense.

Dave September 20, 2011 at 12:45 pm

Chris, should we cancel harsh drug sentences because they obviously don’t deter drug pushers? Should we cancel harsh sentences against human sex traffickers because there seems to be no let-up in the selling of girls into sexual slavery? Should we make cheating on school tests legal because such laws that make that activity illegal didn’t stop the folks at the Atlanta School systems? Those laws didn’t ‘deter’ those activities, either.

Cassandra September 20, 2011 at 1:15 pm


If prison or even capital punishment is not a deterrent to crime, perhaps we ought to consider what does deter crime? The government and the political process are powerless to deter crime. Our system can and does promote societal policy in which righteous values, law, order, a nurturing family, and commitment to non-violence are encouraged to flourish. The law states all of the activities are illegal.

I deeply resent that I feel like a target-rich opportunity for some banger punk trying to build street cred by hurting me. It’s not like I go to bad neighborhoods looking for trouble.

VA-Hi, Midtown, Little Five, and East ATL Vill all became more dangerous lately. I carry and I practice, and if the day shall come where I go all ‘Bernie Goetz’ on walking detritus that is a threat to my life, please judge me as a victim and not a demon.

For my friends below the gnat line, it’s not just an ATL thing….It’s an American thing.

Dave September 20, 2011 at 1:39 pm

Cassandra!! You carry? God, I think I’m falling in love!!! LOL! I better watch out, I’m enjoying our arguing too much! I hope that doesn’t stop! LOL!

Cassandra September 20, 2011 at 1:55 pm

Be careful of what you wish for, Dave. Not everything is as it appears in pixel-paradise…thanks for playing.

You have valid points on questions with unknowable answers.

chamblee54 September 20, 2011 at 12:57 pm
“Based on my understanding of the evidence in the Troy Davis case, I am pretty certain he is guilty” This is the death penalty. The state is going to strap him onto a gurney, inject poisons and drugs into his body, and Troy Davis WILL DIE. This is after spending millions of dollars on appeals. (The death penalty is a jobs program for the legal industry. )
“Based on my understanding of the evidence in the Troy Davis case, I am pretty certain he is guilty” For the state to commit pre meditated homicide, you need to be more than “pretty certain”.

Cassandra September 20, 2011 at 12:43 pm


I would still NOT support the death penalty even if:

If the death penalty stopped murder, other heinous crimes,
If the death penalty was always applied with absolute certainty to guilt.

Peach Pundit reveals many very well thought out pro’s and con’s for this immense issue, over time. I have yet to read one pro-death argument that doesn’t not violate society’s sacred commandments or secular mores.

There is no asterisk after “Thou shalt not kill.”

The death penalty is the law of this land and this sentence will be legally carried out. America casually descends deeper into the capital punishment moral abyss, with each execution carried out.

To the MacPhail family, I am truly grateful the temporal reminder of that terrible night may be over. Each iteration of this horrible event must be the manifestation of the cruelest reality.

I do not weep for the killer, nor do I argue his guilt or innocence; I trust our system of justice worked in this case.

I simply regret that America chooses to obviate the fifth or sixth Commandment, depending on which Scripture is chosen. Would justice be served any less if life in prison meant life in prison, forever? I think not.

Dave September 20, 2011 at 12:47 pm

Cassandra, the literal translation of the Biblical Commandment “Thou Shalt Not Kill” is actually “Thou Shall Not Murder.” Big, big difference.

Cassandra September 20, 2011 at 12:56 pm


I noticed that the Commandments from Exodus 20:1-17 say: “Thou Shall Not Murder,” which is a ‘big, big difference’ as you suggest. But then I see “Thou shalt not kill.” here: from the Hebrew Old Testament, and the same from my Catechism here:

I am not a biblical or legal scholar, but I was brought up with the “Thou shalt not kill” version.

Dave September 20, 2011 at 1:02 pm

I was, also, but was told from an actual Biblical scholar that the original Hebrew language stresses the “Thou Shalll Not Murder” version. You don’t like the death penalty; I do. We are simply at a disagreement over it’s effectivness or application.

Cassandra September 20, 2011 at 1:16 pm

Fair enough.

Calypso September 20, 2011 at 2:15 pm

“There is no asterisk after “Thou shalt not kill.””

Cassandra, why in the world would you carry a gun if not to kill someone?

ZazaPachulia September 20, 2011 at 1:05 pm

Well Dave, in my Bible it says ‘Thou Shalt Not Kill’ and that’s the way my fellow Roman Catholics see it, as well as the United Methodist Church, Anglicans, Episcopalians, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Quakers, Mennonites, Jehovas Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists, etc… We all capital punishment in all forms because we recognize it as sinful and un-Christian.

Jews condemn the death penalty in almost all forms… but they make some exceptions.

But… If you’re an atheist, agnostic, satanist, Mormon, Baptist or a Muslim, the death penalty is supposedly o.k. Maybe you belong in the latter group?

ZazaPachulia September 20, 2011 at 1:09 pm

(there’s supposed to be a ‘reject’ in that last line of the first paragraph above, by the way)

Dave September 20, 2011 at 1:18 pm

Zaza, suppose I am in the last list you wrote. Where is all that tolerance and Christian-like attitude you’re supposed to exhibit? You really shouldn’t be thinking any less of me should you? Isn’t that ‘juding’ somebody? Grab your Rosary Beads and ask for forgiveness, quickly! Actually, I’m Presbyterian and have no Christian problem of having our society rid themselves of evil men like Davis.

David Staples September 20, 2011 at 2:21 pm

Zaza, as an agnostic, I can tell you that many atheists and agnostics I know have varying opinions of the death penalty. We don’t all subscribe to the same source / book as a determination of what is right and what is wrong. We tend to be individuals whose values reflect our individual life experiences instead of believing what a preacher tells us is the correct belief from a book written by man, supposedly inspired by a supernatural being, and then edited over the years by various kings and scribes.

Personally, I don’t have a problem with the death penalty in theory. As I posted in the “Get Off My Lawn” thread, if someone breaks into my house, I won’t hesitate to pull the trigger. Of course that is self defense at the scene of the crime and that person is guilty beyond the shadow of a doubt (I’ll expand on this below…). However, by the time a killer / murderer / whatever is executed, they are usually no longer a threat to society (which means it should probably be classified as pre-meditated murder by the state).

Now, back to that part where I said I don’t have a problem with the theory part. In reality, we spend millions of dollars on appeals and the entire death penalty process. Also in reality, there have been cases where an innocent person has been framed. (Ever read The Innocent Man by John Grisham?) So my issue is two-fold:

1. From a purely fiscal point of view, is it better to spend $X keeping the person locked up for the rest of their life and put them to work as a ward of the state, growing food for prisons, schools, whatever? Or is it better to spend $X+$Y to go through appeal after appeal after appeal and then finally execute the person?

2. What is the percentage that we must be certain that someone must be guilty in order to execute them? To quote Chris above: “I am pretty certain he is guilty.” Should we be 75% positive they’re guilty? 80% positive? 99.9%? If we’re not absolutely 100% positive that a person is guilty, should we err on the side of rounding up and hope we’re right or err on the side of not executing someone who could even possibly be innocent and still make them spend the rest of their life in prison? Just because someone is guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt” doesn’t necessarily mean that the death penalty is the appropriate punishment. Beyond a reasonable doubt does not mean it is absolutely 100% certain that the correct person was convicted. Should we not perhaps use the standard of proof of beyond a shadow of a doubt when applying the death penalty?

Dave September 20, 2011 at 12:14 pm

Not a deterrent? Big deal and who cares. It’s about the ultimate justice for a capital crime.

Cassandra September 20, 2011 at 12:46 pm

I mean why just get justice when you can step up to get the new and improved ‘ultimate’ justice?

Dave September 20, 2011 at 12:51 pm

Heinous actions will result in the ‘ultimate justice’ you just described.

Cassandra September 20, 2011 at 12:57 pm

That is the law, that doesn’t make it right in this world or the next.

ZazaPachulia September 20, 2011 at 1:06 pm

Amen, Cassandra.

Dave September 20, 2011 at 1:10 pm

Not right to you, Cassandra. I’m hoping Troy finds out about that next world you speak of tomorrow night, though.

Cassandra September 20, 2011 at 1:24 pm

True, Dave, while we all wonder, MacPhail’s killer very well may find out, that much we do agree on.

At 7PM tomorrow night some of us will empathize, if only for a brief moment, with all of those involved for a variety of reasons.

saltycracker September 20, 2011 at 12:52 pm

The death penalty is a good idea but executed (sic) poorly. It’s a generation long circus, a gravy train for the wrong people and an expensive or emotional turmoil for the rest.

But the cruelest guy of all was Jim Galloway with a headline that included:

Resignation from John Lewis
My joy in reading further got the death penalty……

Dave September 20, 2011 at 1:08 pm

Read the esteemed Lewis’ reply that included this partial quote: “values the dignity and the worth of every human being.” Ahhhh, so John is including Troy in this statement? Wow! Not the sharpest bulb in the candelabra, is he?

Daniel N. Adams September 20, 2011 at 2:07 pm

There seems to be two main topics being discussed on this thread:

One, should the death penalty exist? And two, should it be carried out against Davis in this case?

I believe the death penalty is wrong for the simple reason it is a right bestowed on the State the individual does not possess. We, like the State, have the right of self defense and can use deadly force during the commission of a threat… but once that imminent threat has been removed, the individual no longer has the right to take a life. Therefore, neither should the State. Rights originate with the individual, collectively delegated to the State… Therefore, it is my belief the death penalty is illegitimate law.

Second topic; this specific case turns our entire criminal justice system upside down. In this case, according to the appellate judge the burden of proof is to be placed on the suspect to prove his innocence, rather than the State proving guilt, beyond a reasonable doubt. Think about that… I bet everyone reading this cannot account for every moment of every day over the last month, where you could PROVE your innocence if the State produced eye witnesses saying you committed a crime. In THIS case, there was ZERO evidence presented other than eye whiteness accounts (most of which have recanted or changed testimony). That alone produces reasonable doubt.

Therefore, Clemency is the minimum that should happen in this case This would only mean, life in prison without the possibility of parole. Don’t we all still want a criminal justice system that errs on the side of caution…. If not for Davis, for our own sakes?

Engineer September 20, 2011 at 2:13 pm

My problem is that there are issues with the evidence (specifically the lack of physical evidence and murder weapon) that leave reasonable doubt, so I couldn’t say the death penalty is appropriate in this case and keep a clear conscience. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying throw him out of prison, I’m just not sure I could give this case in particular anything above life in prison (based on the evidence presented).

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