Yesterday, Troy Davis was executed for the crime of murder in Georgia. Due to the mass-media attention, the recantation of key witness’ testimonies, and mixed feelings about the death penalty, many Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorneys have been discussing this case. As a Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney, I have heard mixed feelings from other Jacksonville Criminal Lawyers. Some lawyers believe that the appellate system and court system have many checks and balances. When a criminal case is appealed, it often goes through a lengthy appellate process. This is especially true in death penalty cases. After reviewing the time line in the Davis case, it appears that several courts have reviewed the Davis case and ruled against him. He was given more chances than most criminal defendants on death row.
On the other hand, Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorneys have stated that this is a grave injustice. This reminds me of the statement, “err on the side of caution.” While Davis was convicted by a jury of his peers and sentenced to death, the witnesses that gave statements leading to his conviction have recanted. Therefore, it is possible that an innocent man was executed today. One Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney made an excellent point today. He stated, “instead of a potentially guilty person remaining locked in prison until the truth came out, a potentially innocent person was executed.”
Although Davis is no longer alive, his case will affect the judicial system. Criminal cases that attract massive media attention affect the jury pool, which in turn has an effect on the outcome of future criminal cases.