Troy Davis is “innocent” because…

This “rebuttal” of Troy Davis’ advocates does little to dispel any notions of an impending injustice [via Paul Cassell at Volokh].

More disturbing than the weak “rebuttal” (for an extensive rebuttal of the “rebuttal”, see this comment), however, is the post itself by Paul “I used to be a Judge” Cassell, which contains some very disturbing assertions and implications.

He writes:

There has been much ado in the media lately about another “innocent” person about to be executed. Unfortunately, most of the media coverage about the impending execution of cop-killer Troy Davis has spent precious little time discussing the facts of the case.

I guess in Paul “I used to be a Judge” Cassell’s world, no innocent man has ever been sentenced to death, despite, well, innocent people actually being released from death row. Let’s just ignore those that were set free after numerous years awaiting execution.

Further, Paul “I used to be a Judge” Cassell implies that somehow the media coverage has ignored the facts of the case. While it may be true that lately the media accounts haven’t focused on the facts, that doesn’t mean that when the story about Davis first broke, the fact weren’t front and center. Without a link to back up his assertion, I’m disinclined to give him any credit. What else would they focus on right now? The issue is whether an innocent man is about to be executed. The stories should rightly focus on the reasons why he might be innocent and any status updates.

Then, Paul “I used to be a Judge but now I’m a victim’s advocate” Cassell throws out this gem:

Even more poignant is this link, which has information about the victim in this case — Officer Mark Allen MacPhail.

I guess as a standalone link it is fine, but to somehow imply that the saintliness of a victim should be a consideration in the guilt or innocence of a defendant is an affront to the whole judicial system. Would he care less about this case were the victim another drug dealer from the ‘hood? I suspect yes.

Obviously I know nothing of Officer MacPhail, nor do I presume to. By all accounts he lived a good life and was killed in the line of duty – an obvious tragedy. But if we start making determinations about the guilt of the accused based on the character of the victim, well, what sort of criminal justice system would we have?

Even more disturbing is that this is a man who used to be a judge. One of the characteristics required of a judge is to be able to evaluate both sides of an argument, assess the facts, give each one credence and then decide how to apply the law. Paul “I used to be a Judge” Cassell seems to think that these are characteristics that stay with the position of a judge, not the person occupying the judgeship.

Finally, we get this zinger:

Davis was convicted and sentenced to death in 1991. We live in strange times when the claim is made that he hasn’t had due process yet.

I think he may just be advocating for a statute of limitations on innocence claims. I don’t know that that merits any consideration.

This also isn’t the first time Paul “Good thing you’re not a Judge anymore” Cassell has made some outrageous comments.

Troy’s execution date is coming up soon. Read more about him and make your own decision.

5 thoughts on “Troy Davis is “innocent” because…

  1. A Voice of Sanity

    Re: Paul “I used to be a Judge” Cassell

    I’m surprised (but not so much now) at how many lawyers, many former prosecutors and some, albeit briefly, judges, who are more than willing to go on TV and prove their incompetence at analyzing evidence and forming logical conclusions, a task which jury members are always expected to do without training.

  2. SPO

    Davis is going to be executed. And then no one (except family) is going to care. That’s the way it is.

    Oh well, he did it.

  3. Joel Rosenberg

    It’s bizarre. It would seem obvious that the primary argument that the DP advocates would want to make in this case is that, well, he really did it, followed by “he’s had due process,” with the horribleness of the crime (and that’s an easy argument to make; we’re talking murder, after all, which is worse than naughty) after that.

    (The late John M. Ford put the whole issue well, I think: the argument over the death penalty is basically a religious argument. Some people believe that there is no combination of horribleness of crime and certainty of proof that makes it legitimate to execute somebody; others think that there is.)


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