Today there were two executions I strongly oppose - opposed, I suppose, is the appropriate word now - one was in Georgia, the other in China. The one in China I did blog about a couple days ago; I do not think countries should have the right to try and execute foreign nationals. The case in Georgia, well that was one of those ones that makes the death penalty seem ridiculous. Troy Davis (if I have the name spelt wrong my most sincere apologies; I am currently blogging via mobile) was denied clemency at every level and killed for a crime he claims he did not commit. There is no physical evidence implicating him, several eyewitnesses recanted, and the entire case was shoddy at its best.
Even if he is found innocent in the future, he will still be dead. In Canada, the death penalty was abolished over 50 years ago. Still, cases of wrongful imprisonment have been major issues when convictions were overturned many years later. These people were still alive, but the Canadian government was forced to address a very serious issue when it came to restoration - how much was the innocent person's life worth during or for the many years spent in prison? Here, at least, they can be faced with this incredibly awkward question and even if they spend centuries arguing over the proper monetary amount, they still can do that. Troy, no. He will never have that opportunity. His life is gone, forever. No amount of money or anything else can buy back or make up for time spent wrongly imprisoned, or equate a part of a life. In comparison, though, at least they have a life to consider. Dead men are just that - dead. It is quite a permanent condition, and one that can never be rectified.
Find the man innocent after his execution, he is still dead. To say it is a step for justice would first require justice to fall down a mountain, then roll ever so slightly towards the other direction. Yes, it is a good thing, but it has no real depth. Had they not executed him then they could go through the awkward public apology and release, and applaud the staying of the sentence. Instead, he is dead and the likelihood anything will ever be done about his case is incredibly slim. Hopefully lobbyists will push it through and have it seen to; do not let him die in vain. What concerns me most is not the clout needed to make it happen, rather I am very worried there is not enough evidence for a proper case. I would really hate to see this die a slow death in bureaucratic red tape and never receive any resolution at all. This is not me saying he was innocent or in any way passing judgement over the case; all I say here is there is not enough proof to warrant execution. I would have liked to see it go back to court, to be assessed once again, and hopefully with less emphasis on witness testimony.
People make mistakes all the time; this one may have cost an innocent man his life. Or, it may have sent a killer to his grave, but is it worth that risk?