This has become a hallmark of the American death penalty: don't look too hard, don't ask too many questions. Once a jury has reached a verdict, avoid at all costs the question of whether they might be wrong. Finality over fairness or accuracy.
No one should be executed when there is serious doubt about the person's guilt. The problem is that the Supreme Court has imposed too difficult a standard.
As we remember brothers like Troy Davis, as we think about Kelly Gissendaner who would be executed by the State of Georgia on the 29th of this month, we remember what it means to die a good death, leaving a mark on a world that forces us to face our own idiosyncrasies and short comings.
Two years ago, the state of Georgia ignored the facts, doubts and pleas of hundreds of thousands of people and killed Troy Anthony Davis. Today, on the anniversary of his execution, we rededicate ourselves to ending the immoral, biased and ineffective practice of capital punishment.
The Supreme Court got it right in 1972. The death penalty does violate the Constitution, because it is cruel and unusual punishment. And here's why.
The death penalty is the tip of the iceberg of an unjust criminal justice system, in which America, the world's largest jailer, throws away its perceived problems as a matter of social policy, rather than invest in people and communities, jobs and education.
What lessons can college students learn from studying cases of justice and injustice? That justice is slow and requires a lucky break? That justice sometimes doesn't occur at all?
Two years ago, both Troy and I were in prison for murder, even though the case against both of us had fallen completely apart. One year ago, I had been set free, and Troy had been put to death.
On this anniversary of his passing, let us remember who Troy Davis was, what he stood for, and the work we as a nation still need to do.