Dear Editor,

By the time this letter is published Troy Davis probably would have been executed in Atlanta, USA by lethal injection for being convicted some 21 years ago of killing a policeman.

The case has evoked a lot of interest and it seems that it is the death penalty which is on trial, as reported by the international media. Amnesty International and high profile personalities, viz, the Pope and President Carter along with thousands of signatories to a petition called for a pardon. There were also daily protests.

What is interesting about this case is that it was reported that there were no witnesses to the execution of the policeman.

Some seven witnesses at the trial recanted their stories told to the police during the investigation. It is important to note that he had four stays of executions.

I was once an advocate for retaining capital punishment but with DNA analysis and the re-investigation of crimes a lot of inmates have been freed, especially in the USA, on the grounds of wrongful conviction.

And in the USA there are a number of states including NY where the death penalty has been replaced by life imprisonment A jury trial will always have the human element of deciding one’s fate by persons whose emotions could sway them towards a wrong decision, even with a judge’s guidance and oversight.

And there is the perception that murder is mostly not premeditated.

Yours faithfully,
V O Patrick

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