Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Postmortem Evaluation of Troy Anthony Davis: Intro

Late tonight (or in the wee hours of tomorrow morning), I will begin a postmortem evaluation of the Troy Anthony Davis case. I won't however, be evaluating the people of Georgia, or their police, or their prosecutors, or their judges. I won't be evaluating the U.S. Supreme Court.

I will instead be evaluating us. I will be evaluating you the readers and me the blogger. I will be looking at how we did in assessing the case, to see if we can learn from our mistakes before we are too harsh in judging others for theirs.

Representing me in this postmortem evaluation will be me. I'm concerned about the quality of my representation, but I'm all I've got. Representing you, the now-confused reader, will be those who commented on my five-part Troy Davis series that garnered more attention than any other post or series I have written.

It's not too late to be criticized for your writing or thinking. (It's fun. Really. Trust me.) Overcome your fears of saying something stupid or something brilliant. Add an insightful comment about the case now. And if you comment within the next 20 minutes, I'll throw in the shipping and handling for free.

Maybe you too will be mentioned in the postmortem.


Sue-anne Jones said...

I really battle to come to terms with the fact that when there is doubt, the necessary "system" cannot be altered to give fair opportunity to the individual. I mean we are talking about life and death here. Thanks very much for your interesting blog posts, it is such a privilige to be able to gain insight into some of these cases.

Mark said...

I have read your entire series of blogs, Judge Moore's entire ruling and various other sources of information and here's the conclusion I have come to:

You either believe that Troy Davis shot Michael Cooper in the face and murdered Officer MacPhail or you believe that the police carried out a massive conspiracy to frame Troy Davis with the motive being that he was the initial suspect and they rushed to judgement. The first is much, much, much more easily believed but that doesn't mean the second scenario isn't plausible too. However, the reason that I believe Troy Davis was guilty and the cops didn't manufacture evidence and testimony is because they didn't have to. The initial statements by witnesses and suspects tells us everything we need to know. The only question we have to answer for ourselves is whether Troy Davis was in the white shirt or Redd Coles. I see more then enough evidence to suggest it was Troy Davis. All of the recantations and new evidence gives me pause and makes me think that maybe the death penalty isn't appropriate at least in this case, but is life in prison such a great alternative. Taking away an innocent man's freedom for life could also be a pretty horrible fate as well so I don't think we should view this issue about the death penalty. It's about whether Troy Davis was guilty and there is a LOT of circumstantial evidence to say he was and very little hard evidence to say he was innocent.

To be honest, the one thing that really stinks in this case is the quality of the witnesses. There were dozens of people involved and witness to multiple shootings and we are having this much trouble positively identifying the perp. Give me a break...people know more then they are letting on and I think much of that is due to the fact that they are protecting friends and neighbors.

CC said...

I have a law school education and a history degree, and I am opposed to the death penalty. I've been fascinated by your dissection of this case, but I've also been repelled by my own fascination, if that makes any sense.

The thing I keep coming up against is simple: The shirt swap is the plain, incontrovertible fact that I cannot get past in trying to build a case for Davis' guilt. It does not make sense from any angle, for any reason. Not when coupled with the fact of giving the yellow shirt away. ANY anomaly is grounds for reasonable doubt, in a death penalty case.

As for those who point out Davis' flight? It is utterly logical that a man would flee when accused of something, even if not guilty. We simply don't know why he attempted to run. Fear of reprisals, fear of being framed, anything. The human instinct to "make it go away" is not to be ignored.

So many people cannot seem to differentiate between "innocent" and "not guilty". To be one is not necessarily the other; to be found not guilty is not to be cleared of all wrongdoing. I do not believe Davis was innocent, but I believe, on the face of one glaring, unexplainable anomaly, that he was not guilty.

Anonymous said...

thank you so much for your good work. we all need to come to grips with the fact that when the state kills it kills in our name. we have a responsibility to be informed about how our government uses violence against it's own citizens. rip.

türkiye ve hayata dair herşey said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
tsj said...

I removed the previous comment because it was spam unrelated to the post or the case. I have yet to delete a comment for any other reason.

Anonymous said...

Wow, tsj, great series of posts. (I've commented before... I was the one who criticized your speed trap hyperbole.) With your treatment of the Davis case, you provided outstanding commentary in what seemed like real time for a current event. I hope this garners more interested readers for your insightful blog.

The Davis case had led me to believe that the death penalty should have a different standard of guilt. "Beyond a reasonable doubt" can suffice for imprisonment, but for capital punishment, I'd suggest a standard of "all other reasonable hypotheses are excluded."

Sadly, I don't know if even that would have spared Cameron Todd Willingham, since the jury heard bogus science.


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