Troy Davis has been denied a stay of execution. He is scheduled to die by lethal injection tonight at 7 pm.
I’ve been following this case since I was in law school and since before the U.S. Supreme Court granted cert. I became interested in it academically, because it seemed like such a perfect vehicle to deal with the “actual innocence” question on habeas that SCOTUS had left hanging since Herrera. Imagine my shock to see Davis successfully navigate a Schlup hearing only to be shot down by the Supreme Court of “Eh, We Don’t Really Care If You’re Innocent Or Not, D00d.”
Along the way, I – like anyone else with a heart – developed a personal interest in Troy Davis’s fate, and that’s what this post is about, since there’s no room left for the legal arguments anymore. There’s an outside procedural chance that SCOTUS will intervene to stop his execution before 7:00 p.m. EDT tonight, but I understand that nobody is counting on it. Instead, I will be in an ice rink a thousand miles away, living with the fact that the state of Georgia put to death a man whom a court had found could not be convicted by any reasonable jury.
Sometimes, I’m amazed by the absurdity of the human race in a hilarious way (televised golf). And sometimes, I’m amazed by the absurdity of the human race in a heartbreaking way. It’s that amazement I have right now, along with a wholly inadequate apology: Mr. Davis, I am sorry. I’m sorry that you and I are members of a species that will gladly execute you even when our best methods for determining whether or not you’ve done anything to “deserve” such a fate have revealed that you do not. We are about to end your life understanding that we are horribly, horribly wrong to do so, and for that I am so, so sorry.