More than 20 years ago, Troy Davis, an African-American man from Georgia, was convicted of shooting and killing an off-duty police officer and sentenced to death. Several years later, seven out of nine eyewitnesses altered or completely recanted their stories (Troy). There was an obvious lack of evidence linking Davis to the crime. His legal team argued that he was just in the “wrong place at the wrong time” (Troy). The U.S. Supreme Court repeatedly ruled against Davis’ appeals for a new trial. Davis was ultimately executed based on the original jury verdict. Troy Davis maintained his innocence until his death by lethal injection on September 21, 2011. His last words to the family of the murdered officer were, “All I can ask is that you look deep into this case so you can really find the truth” (Troy).
There are a countless number of convicts like Troy Davis that are sentenced to death, but insist they are innocent. How do we know if they are truly guilty or not? Just because a jury finds a person guilty, does not mean they are. From 1976-2005, 119 people were released from death row with evidence of their innocence (Jost). This should push lawmakers to abolish capital punishment, also known as, the death penalty.
There are several reasons why the U.S. should abolish the death penalty. First, and most obvious, the innocent may be wrongly executed. There is proof of wrongfully executed people. Yes, it is very rare but it has happened before. Secondly, some jurors are reluctant to convict if it means putting someone to death (Should). It is bad enough to convict someone of a crime they did not do, sentencing an innocent person to jail time. Sentencing an innocent person to death, is an even more guilt-bearing act. Meaning, some jurors will not convict at all if they know they will have anything to do with putting a person to death. It may be because of their religious beliefs, uncertainty, or anything of that nature. Lastly, capital punishment is much more...
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Jost, K. (2005, September 23). Death penalty controversies. CQ Researcher, 15, 785-808.
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“Pros & Cons of the Death Penalty." About.com US Liberal Politics. Web. 22 Feb. 2012.
“Troy Davis Executed: Controversially Convicted Inmate Maintains Innocence Until The End." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 21 Sept. 2011. Web. 22 Feb. 2012.
"Should the Death Penalty Be Banned as a Form of Punishment?" BalancedPolitics.org. Web. 22 Feb. 2012.
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