Monday, October 24, 2011

The American Justice System Killed an Innocent Man!

     Bree Motley                                                                   

The late Troy Davis who was executed by the Georgia Court System . 
"For those about to take my life, God have mercy on your souls. And may God bless your souls," these were the last words of the late Troy Davis who was executed by the Georgia state justice system for the alleged murder of an off-duty police officer in 1989. The case of Troy Davis has made headlines across the nation. This has been an open case over the past 22 years, but I cant help to believe that the justice system wanted to execute Troy Davis just because they wanted to be able to say that justice was served. Although there were thousands of protests and many powerful people spoke out against the execution, nothing happened. The Execution was carried out on September 21, 2011 and Troy Davis was put to death by lethal injection. Troy Davis was pronounced dead at 11:08 pm. As the Georgia Court System murdered Troy Davis, his family , friends, and people fighting for his life mourned and grew with anger as they watched on TV an innocent life being taken away. This case has caused the country in a way to become divided.We have the people as myself who are on the side of Troy Davis and believe that he is innocent. On the other hand, there's the people who dont care that this man's life was taken away and they just wanted to see "Justice served". After researching and finding out all of the background information regarding this case, it really angers me that the efforts made by millions of people wasn't enough to stop the murder of Davis. It makes me think, Am I really living in a democratic country ? Can  trust that the American Justice system will do whats right and truly serve justice to those who actually commit the crimes and who deserves it. With that being said, was justice served to the wrong man? Did the courts kill an innocent man? Was this an example of the injustice within the American justice system? Is the death penalty truly an accurate way to convict murders or is it a contradiction of the American justice system? In this essay I argue that we as American citizens recognize the many faults within the American Justice system and put an end to the death penalty.  

The Investigation 

The trial of Troy Davis was very inconsistent. The events of the actual crime and the trial are very perplexing to whether Troy Davis actually committed the crime. According to the article "The Case of Troy Davis: A Timeline of Events" from News 11alive on NBC, the "off duty police officer Mark MacPhail was shot and killed when intervening in an argument between two men in a parking lot near a restaurant where he worked as a security guard".The video to the right from CNN News/Amnesty USA  entails facts that happened on the night of the crime ( At the crime scene there were four men excluding Officer MacPhail. There was Troy Davis who was arguing with Daryl Collins in the middle of the parking lot. They encountered Sylvester "Redd" Coles who was arguing with a homeless man, Larry Young over alcohol. Officer McPhail didn't intervene until he saw that Coles pistol whipped Young in the parking lot. Before I continue to explain the events of the night, I want you as the reader to analyze everything that is going on. I want you to try to be a detective and put all of the pieces of this crime together. It makes sense to me that the man with the gun was Coles, who was later accused by a witness from the trial of confessing to the shooting and killing officer MacPhail. So how did Davis become the crimes #1 suspect? hmm... 

"The day after the shooting, Coles went to the police station with his lawyer and said that Troy Davis was the shooter"("Significant Doubts about Troy Davis’ Guilt: A Case for Clemency | NAACP"). I'm not the only person who thinks that Davis shouldn't have been the only suspect charged with the murder of McPhail. My theory is that Coles felt guilty and he wanted to clear his name to hide the truth behind the crime. The details on what exactly happened between the shooting and the next day when Coles went to the police station are not thoroughly
  known due to the fact that the crime was 22 years ago. However I cant help but wonder; Did Coles actually see Davis shoot the officer or is he just trying to clear his name? In 1991 Troy Davis was originally convicted of the killing of McPhail. 

Why Question the Courts verdict
During the trial " witnesses placed Davis at the crime scene and identified him as the shooter, but several of them have recanted their accounts and some jurors have said they've changed their minds about his guilt. Others have claimed that Coles who was with Davis that night has told people he actually shot the officer " ( CBS News: "Troy Davis executed in Georgia").

More specifically there were 7 out of 9 witnesses that recanted their statements.  According to the video on the right from CNN News Room, (, witnesses of Troy Davis' Trial, Darrell Collins states "I told them over and over that I didn't see this happen. The police put what they wanted to put in that statement". Another witness, Dorothy Ferrell states, "I was scared that if I didn't cooperate with the detective, then he might find a way to have me locked up again". And she goes on to say how she didn't really see Troy Davis shoot the officer. The video also includes other witnesses who recanted their original testimonies and most of these due by force of the police. They claimed that they lied due to interrogation from police and they were told that they if they didn't testify against Davis then some of their rights may be taken away. As soon as this information broke out that's when the public got involved. They wanted to put an end to the execution of Davis. The public soon began to realize that the evidence holding Davis as the shooter wasn't sufficient. 

This is not what the American Justice System should portray.After further researching the deception with police interrogation, I read some interesting things. The academic journal, Social Science Network and Research:Deceptive Police Interrogation Practices: How Far is Too Far?, provides a interesting fact on how police use deception and false accusations to take down a suspect. The journal basically states that in the end, virtually all interrogations involve some deception. At the very least, the successful interrogator deceives the suspect by allowing him to believe that, somehow, it will be in his best interest to undertake the usually self-defeating course of making an uncounseled confession. Another academic journal has an opinion about the outrageous number in false convictions. Richard Leo, a professor at University of San Francisco School of law and author of academic journal: Selected Works, states "There has been an explosion of legal scholarship on wrongful convictions in the last decade, reflecting a growing concern about the problem of actual innocence in the criminal justice system." Police seemed to ignore the witnesses that say they didn't see the shots and focus on the previous 'fixed' statements. We are made to believe that we live in a country for the people and by the people. However, authorities seem to use their power to take down the weak and take freedom away from innocent people.

An Effort to Stop the Execution 

From from the article, "Troy Davis' Dilemma
"Hundreds of thousands of individuals around the world have already spoken out against the execution of Troy Davis Now prominent politicians, celebrities and high profile people are joining in to stop the execution of a possibly innocent man"("Celebs, Politicians Rally to Stop Troy Davis Execution"). The out cry of the public had been tremendous. Millions of people around the world have been protesting and making signs stating that the execution of Troy Davis should be overturned. For example this picture on the left demonstrates that many people stood behind Troy Davis and they truly believe that he was innocent . People around the world started a peaceful protest as they, "chanted "I am Troy Davis.Until we win, I, too, am Troy Davis"("I AM TROY DAVIS,Blog of Rights: Official Blog of the American Civil Liberties Union"). There were Petitions that were proposed and signed by thousands of people. It seemed as if nothing was going to change the decisions made by the Supreme Court. It was as if they already had their minds made up even before the trial began. 

"If one of our fellow citizens can be executed with so much doubt surrounding his guilt, then the death penalty system in our country is unjust and outdated," Carter said in a statement. According to New York Daily News: Troy Davis execution enrages former President Jimmy Carter: Death penalty 'unjust and outdated'.  Another well known Political activist that spoke out against the case was Rev. Al Sharpton. He spoke against the decision of the georgia courts. He was outraged that the courts can still schedule to execute Troy Davis despising all of the doubt surrounding his guilt. The the video to the left shows Reporter Martin Bashir of MSNBC interviewing Rev. Al Sharpton and he speaks on how everyone from the Pope to former President Carter had spoken out to stop the execution but there was still no change in the courts( He felt the same as many people around the world. He felt hurt and angered. There was no justice being served. This was not a fair trail and the prosecutors didn't do there job. This video was taken hours before the execution of Troy Davis on September 21. 2011. The purpose was to use any last minute efforts in means to stop the execution. Clearly it didn't work.   I'm not sure what the Georgia court system wanted. I'm not sure what lengths we have had to go to for them to realize that the execution was unjust and it wasn't fair. I would really like to know what drove them to their decision. I wonder can they sleep at night knowing that justice wasn't served and that all they did was take away an innocent life .  

                                                                   Works  Cited

"The Case of Troy Davis: A Timeline of Events |" 11Alive | Atlanta | WXIA TV. Web. 15 Nov. 2011. <>.

"Celebs, Politicans Rally to Stop Troy Davis Execution." Human Rights Now - Amnesty International USA Blog. Web. 15 Nov. 2011. <>.
"Deceptive Police Interrogation Practices: How Far Is Too Far? by Laurie Magid :: SSRN." Social Science Research Network. June 2001. Web. 15 Nov. 2011. <>.
"I AM TROY DAVIS » Blog of Rights: Official Blog of the American Civil Liberties Union." American Civil Liberties Union. Web. 15 Nov. 2011. <>.
Jones, Walter C. "Troy Davis Case: The Role of Witnesses |" Jacksonville News, Sports and Entertainment | The Florida Times, 28 Sept. 2008. Web. 14 Nov. 2011. <>.
Leo, Richard. ""Studying Wrongful Convictions: Learning " by Richard A. Leo, Et Al." Selected Works of Richard Leo. 2009. Web. 15 Nov. 2011. <>.
"Significant Doubts about Troy Davis’ Guilt:  A Case for Clemency | NAACP." NAACP | National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Web. 15 Nov. 2011. <>.
"Troy Davis Executed in Georgia." CBS News. 21 Sept. 2011. Web. 4 Nov. 2011. <>.
"Troy Davis Execution Enrages Former President Jimmy Carter: Death Penalty Is 'unjust and Outdated' - New York Daily News." Featured Articles From The New York Daily News. Web. 15 Nov. 2011. <>. 


  1. 1. Yes, this essay makes a very clear argument. You did a good job choosing what side of the argument you were on. You started your argument from the first paragraph and stuck to that side. The argument that i think you are trying to make is that innocent people are being killed by the death penalty. Once the court makes a decision it is final, no matter how many people are against the decision.
    2. Although there were thousands of pretests and many powerful people spoke out against the execution, nothing happened.
    3. She talked about the case of Troy Davis. She explained the case and then went on to tell us what the final decision was.
    4. I dont know if you used examples, but you used videos and pictures to of people protesting that explain which side of the argument your on.
    5. Yes, you tell us the whole story and tell us what side of the story your on. You tell us who was against the execution and the final decision of the trial.
    6. Yes you did a good job of explaining the significance of the videos and pictures.
    7. I would like to know a little more about the witnesses and their side of the story before I choose what side i am on.
    8. Yes, the last paragraph of your essay is veyr persuasive.

  2. Peer Reponse:

    1.Yes I agreed with my partners interpretation of my argument. She hits it right on the mark on what I wanted the purpose of my blog essay to portray. One way that I can revise my argument to make it clearer was like my partner stated and that is to give more background about the witnesses and their actual statement so that the reader can accurately choose what side they are on.

    2. Yes I found my partners feedback to be very helpful because it reassured me that my main for the reader was clear and also that my argument was clear and the reader could see how passionate I was about this topic.

    3. The first Thing I want to revise about this blig after reading my partners response is the background information about the witnesses. I can spend more time on the section that talks about the statements of of the witnesses and how they were sufficient evidence to accuse Troy Davis.

    4. My Argument as I would define it is : The American Justice system has recently killed a potentially innocent man, and therefore the death penalty should be abolished.