Today the United States Supreme Court is slated to hear the case concerning Troy Davis, a 40-year old black man who was convicted in 1991 for the murder of an off-duty white police officer.
Not only was he convicted but was sentenced to death, and his chance at or for life has come dangerously close to an end. His execution has been put off three times, but if the nation’s highest court does not rule in his favor, his time may well have run out.
Davis from the beginning claimed his innocence, and no weapon was ever found. Then, beginning in 2000, seven of nine witnesses who had testified against Davis recanted or contradicted their testimonies, and said that they had been pressured by police.
In spite of that, Davis has been unable to get a new trial.
I am thinking that I would not want to be in Davis’ shoes. I am not sure that there is real justice in many to most cases.
For the longest time, I have noticed that it seems that “the system,” consisting of the District Attorney, the police and the courts, are reluctant to admit when they have made a mistake. I have watched, fascinated, as the Innocence Project has been able to prove that too many innocent people have been shoved into prison, with nobody believing their claims of innocence.
It makes me shudder. What chance does a “nobody” have in a system which is more apt to dole out justice to those whom it chooses, and ignore those who do not “make the grade?”
It’s been shown that the testimonies of so-called “eyewitnesses” is not all that reliable. It is a known fact that many people think all people of another race all look the same. That is the result of our racism, and our unwillingness to get to know other people. We live on assumptions and opinions, not real knowledge of each other.
Then, there seems to be some machoism at work. It seems that too many male law enforcement officers define their masculinity on being right – even when they and everyone else knows they are wrong. I keep thinking of the recent footage on CNN showing an Oklahoma State Trooper harassing an EMS ambulance.
What came through in the footage was outrageous behavior of the trooper, menacing the EMS tech who calmly and repeatedly explained that there was a patient in the ambulance. The trooper kept up his harangue, and kept threatening the EMS tech with being put in jail.
The entire event was caught on tape, but I shuddered. What if there had been no tape? Would there be yet another American citizen thrown in jail, trumped up charges against him, with no chance of justice?
Mix together the disparity in treatment given to people with money compared to people who do not have money, the machismo factor and the ever present racism in this country, complete with the assumptions and opinions that disease has planted in too many of us, and real justice is elusive, unreal and too seldom given.
I would hate to be in Troy Davis’ shoes. I’ll bet he believed at one time that when it comes to justice, truth matters.
It does not.
And that is just a candid observation.