Davis’ death sentence to be reconsidered

Capital punishment has been a sore spot of debate in American history, as its defendants have revered it as the harshest punishment for the worst of offenders while opponents have called it a miscarriage of justice.

The latest case to rekindle the fire of public opinion on capital punishment is that of Troy Davis, a Georgian man who has been sentenced to execution this Wednesday for the murder of a police officer. A large number of people have showed support for Davis, including most notably former President Jimmy Carter, Pope Benedict XVI and former FBI Director William Sessions. As of Thursday, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles received a petition with more than 663,000 names asking that Davis not be executed Wednesday. On Friday afternoon, our campus saw a number of protesters chanting against his death penalty.

The astounding turnout in support of Davis came about in light of insubstantial physical evidence and recent news that seven out of the nine witnesses in the trial recanted, saying they were forced by police officials to give a false testimony.

When there is a punishment as serious as the death penalty on the table, and the foundation of evidence a case rests on is still shifting, that sentence needs to be reconsidered. Regardless of peoples’ opinions on capital punishment, we believe that groups on both side of the argument should acknowledge that reasonable doubt of the validity of evidence still exists, and that is not a basis on which any individual can be executed, regardless of how long the trial has been going on.

On Monday, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles hold a meeting to discuss the recently developed facts, where they will decide to continue with the execution or grant clemency — changing his sentence to life in prison or life without parole. We are glad to see the board will be reviewing the developing case, as ignoring such important changes would be egregious in the face of capital punishment.

With the many voices in support of Davis and the outstanding evidence hinting at his innocence, we hope the board grants Davis clemency and properly addresses the shaky ground that is this trial.