What I remember starts when the then Governor of Arkansas was running for the Presidency in 1992, Clinton returned to Arkansas for the execution of Ricky Ray Rector. Reports note that Rector had severe brain-damaged such to the extent that on the night of his execution he saved his dessert to eat later in his prison cell. I considered this posturing on behalf of Clinton as an effort to show that he was tough on crime to voters. Rector was executed although the Arkansas Supreme Court said that Rector’s was a case that should be considered for executive clemency, Rector, a 40-year-old black man had been convicted of killing a black police officer. After shooting the cop, Rector shot himself in the head and damaged his brain.
Clinton continued to state his support for the death penalty after this period. In 1994 he pushed a crime bill through Congress that allowed prosecutors to seek the federal death penalty in 60 more crimes than they could prior, including murder of a law enforcement officer. He ignored critics who requested a nation-wide moratorium on federal executions. He made three-strikes-you’re-out the law of the land, so that criminals go to jail for life, with no chance of parole. More abhorrently was Clinton proposing and signing into law, a feature to limit appeals for persons on Death row – something Troy Davis knows well. Yes, the fate of Troy Davis is due to the Democratic Party and their hardline laws against crime, which when implemented, disparately impacts African Americans.
How is this the fault of Bill Clinton and the democrats one may ask? Well first, it was Clinton and the democrats who provided almost $8 billion in new funding to help states build new prison cells so violent offenders serve their full sentences. Then in 1996, after the Oklahoma City bombing, Clinton advocated, unsuccessfully legislation that a provision that would have curtailed the writ of habeas corpus -- the power of federal courts to second-guess state courts on whether or not a fair trial had been given. It would have allowed inmates only one federal death row appeal filed within one year of exhausting all state appeals.
In Clinton’s first six years as president, more than 300 people were executed compared to compared to 185 during the 12 years of the Republican presidencies of Ronald Reagan and George Bush. In 1997 alone, the Clinton Administration executed 74 people (the most in a single year since 1956) and 68 in 1998. Senate Democrats voted 44 to 1 in support of Clinton’s 1994 Omnibus Crime Bill. In the House, 154 Democrats voted for the bill, and only 26 voted against. Supporters included former Illinois Senator Carol Moseley-Braun and Illinois Congressman (and former Black Panther) Bobby Rush.
Troy Davis, if executed will be directly attributable to the policies of the laws put in place by democrats and President Bill Clinton. Data has since then shown empirically that more than 70 percent of those on federal death row are minorities, mostly African Americans. Then there is the Columbia University study that noted two-thirds of death penalty cases appealed between 1973 and 1995 were lawed to the extent they had to be overturned.
Davis is set to be executed September 21 for the 1989 shooting death of a police officer in Savannah, Georgia. Although ample and is strong evidence supports his claim of innocence. Also are the facts that seven out of nine witnesses who gave evidence at his trial in 1991 have recanted or changed their testimony, no murder weapon was ever found, no DNA evidence or fingerprints connect Davis to the crime, and other witnesses have since said the murder was committed by another man, who was a witness who testified against him, interject serious and probably doubt.
If Davis is executed, we all can honestly say no justice was served and that a new standard of proving one’s innocence has replaced proving guilt. And all thanks to Democrats who wanted to prove they were tough on crime to beat Republicans. From the way I see it, it may as well be Bill Clinton giving Mr. Davis his lethal injection. Yes, the favorite child of African Americans and the beloved Democratic Party is just as responsible for his death, if it occurs than the courts and state of Georgia.