Yesterday on Facebook a friend posted a video by T-V judge Greg Mathis with comments about Wednesday night’s execution of convicted killer Troy Davis in Georgia. With the video the person who posted it directed a question specifically to me, and to me only asking my opinion. I was curious and asked, “why me?” Their reply was: I always like to hear [your] point of view whether I agree with it or not. I think [your] smart and intelligent. Well… what can I say to that? Never afraid to express my political opinions on Facebook, and always looking for a writing challenge (those warm subjects) I responded as follows:
To fully address your question would take a lot more words than offered here to do it justice. I don’t intend to get in some ongoing debate about this case with those who all they know is what they read in the newspapers and see on T-V. I can tell you — as a former broadcast news reporter — news reporting is often totally unreliable for a clear picture on complicated matters like murder cases and appeals. Often one needs to dig beyond the reporting. Most aren’t willing to do that. Mix in the notables and cause-celebs who sometimes come out of the woodwork, with questionable motives; add the personal biases and opinions of the reporters themselves, who shape those stories and further cloud the facts and all you have is something worthy of lining the bottom of a birdcage with.
Judge Mathis’ 2 1/2 minute emotionally charged video appeal (which he couldn’t even do without 8 or 9 edits), while appealing to the emotions, runs quite contrary to the real facts (those dirty little facts) that were the Troy Davis case. Mathis’ first point is that Davis “maintained his innocence to the very end.” How many convicted murderers are we aware of that say the same thing? Don’t you know our prisons are full of innocent people? There were more than 60 witnesses called in the Davis case, not 9 as Mathis and others claim. (If they can’t accurately report that single, easily verifiable fact correctly, what else might they have gotten wrong?) Of the seven so-called recantations the appeals judge rightfully described defense efforts to overturn the conviction as “largely smoke and mirrors”, and decided that several of the affidavits were not recantations at all. Only one was judged wholly credible and two were only partly credible. A fact that these naysayers never mention. In its case brought before the U.S. Supreme Court Davis’ defense team dropped the witness recants and didn’t mention them as a basis for their appeal.
Unfortunately we hear so little about the real victim, 27-year old Mark MacPhail, the father of two young children. MacPhail had served as an Army Ranger for six years and was shot through the heart and in his face without drawing his weapon. All in an effort to aid a homeless man being pistol whipped at the time. There are injustices in the judicial system, no question about it. But in this case, after years of appeal and reexamination of the real facts, justice was served. Troy Davis is dead.
Judge Mathis Weighs In