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The Sciences

The night the lights went out in Georgia

Bad AstronomyBy Phil PlaitSeptember 22, 2011 6:43 AM

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Shame on you, Georgia. Shame.

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We don't know if Troy Davis was actually guilty of killing a police officer or not. But that's the point. Seven out of nine witnesses recanted, another person apparently confessed, there is no physical evidence linking Davis to the murder, and the defense claimed there were serious procedural issues with the case. Any or all of these are enough to cast doubt on the conviction. The fact that he was executed, despite all this doubt, makes it clear this system is terribly, terribly broken. If any good comes out of this, I hope at the very least it's that a solid discussion of the irrevocable nature of the death penalty emerges. Even if you feel capital punishment is justified -- and I would disagree with that, strongly -- I hope you'd agree that even one innocent person executed constitutes a major problem. The case of Troy Davis shows in a brutal and soul-shaking way just how the legal system in Georgia at least, and the nation as a whole, is seriously screwed up. Shame on Georgia? Shame on all of us.

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