Sitting here watching CNN report on the anguish of Troy Davis. I had not really payed attention to this case until tonight. Doing some internet research quite honestly I have no idea as to whether the man is guilty or not. I’m not a lawyer either but it seems to me common sense dictates that if 7 of the 9 witnesses recant their testimony there should be a stay of execution. What flashed in my mind was a story that I read many years ago in the book A Theology as Big as the City by Ray Bakke:
A Clergy colleague of mine spent a day in Chicago’s housing court watching as the judge threw out case after case of renters in slum buildings. He always sided with the slumlords, those absentee real estate speculators, against the poor people. Finally my friend could stand it no longer. He spoke up: “Your honor, if it pleases the court, may I ask, Where is the justice in this court? I’ve been here all day long and I’ve seen no justice whatsoever.” The judge quickly replied “Reverend this is no court of justice. This is a court of law. If you want justice change the law!”
This is yet another reminder that we do not have courts of justice in America but courts of law. I can’t help but feel that the law has failed in this case. With all the doubt surrounding this at the very least the Governor could have given Davis clemency, stopping the execution but keeping him in jail for life. That may not have been just either but it would have at least kept a man who may have been innocent alive.