In Briefs: Death Penalty

ALLISON REILLY: Troy Davis’ execution leaves many of us who worked on behalf of his case wondering, “What should we do next?” Although his case brought many activists out of the woodwork to support him, there were many more who worked on his case well before Davis and the death penalty started to make national headlines. If anything, now is the best time to keep pushing, moving with the momentum of national attention.

Thirty four states in the Union still have the death penalty, and there are many more people out there in Davis’ situation. One of those people is Reggie Clemons, a man in Missouri who has been on death row for about six year. Not only does Clemons’ case have the claims of innocence that Davis had, there is also evidence of police brutality, ineffectual counsel, and prosecutorial misconduct. It’s bad enough that this country has already executed a man who’s case had serious doubts of his guilt. It would be even worse if this country executed a man despite judicial improprieties.

I am actually incredibly disappointed in the family of the victim in Troy Davis’ case. Davis was convicted for killing police officer Mark MacPhail in 1989. I had hoped the family of a police officer would want correct and properly executed justice on behalf of Office MacPhail, even if that means considering the possibility the innocence for the person convicted. I had hoped that the family of someone who worked for the law and for justice would do the same, if simply for the notion that law and justice would be want Officer MacPhail wanted, whether or not he was murdered. Their failure of consideration of Davis’ innocence by the family leads me to believe that they didn’t care about law and justice, only about getting someone for the murder of Officer MacPhail, whether or not that person is guilty.


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