It was the best of times.
A convicted murderer of a police officer received his lethal injection after decades on death row. Troy Davis had also shot somebody else and pistol-whipped a homeless person. The police officer was coming to the aid of the homeless person. During his trial, numerous witnesses testified that they had seen him either shoot one guy or kill the other. Pretty solid case. So solid that the jury found him guilty within two hours of deliberations.
Al Qaeda and the Taliban seemed to be on the run, scattering elsewhere and repositioning themselves in Pakistan. The founder of Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, was reportedly killed. A leading recruiter of Al Qaeda, Anwar Al-Awlaki, was killed a few months later. The war on terror was seeing major progress.
It was the worst of times.
During the time after Troy Davis's first trial, key witnesses recanted their testimony. One alleged eyewitness, Dorothy Ferrell, was a recanter. You might scoff, "Ah, her testimony could not have been that important if it is easily recanted." Well, I hope you want some sugar in your scoffee because Dorothy testified that she had seen Davis slay a person from her room across the street.
Is that bitter?
Might need more sugar.
Dorothy also said that she felt forced to testify the way she did because she was on parole for a shoplifting conviction and the DA's office had agreed to a plea deal in exchange for her testimony.
She pointed the finger at somebody for murder in exchange for help for a shoplifting conviction? (you can push play now)
This is the part where a lawyer's/law student's mouth drops.
"I'm not actually Atticus Finch,
but I do play him in a movie.
And darnit, PETA, stop thinking
that birds were killed in that movie!
Nothing was killed in the movie.
Well, actually, crap, that's incorrect."
|Went from listening to "boom boom boom"|
to going boom, boom, boom.
What? Too soon, soon soon?
However, the death penalty can only be given after a trial.
So the case against al-Awlaki was pretty much air-tight. All America had to do was find him, arrest him, and bring him to trial. Yet, a memo within the walls of the White House skipped the steps of due process and stated that he was killable.
|"Yo, wait up, I just gotta run in and use the bathroom real quick."|
|Walker, Taliban Ranger|
It was the age of foolishness.
The only way a judge can interpret the law is if he has parties before him, which are usually brought by the executive branch. This is because the executive branch enforces the law. Police officers, for example, are under the executive branch. The military also falls under the executive branch (Department of Defense). So, for a court to hear out both sides to al-Awlaki's issues, the military would need to bring him in.
Except that the executive branch decided he did not need to be brought in.
He just needed to be taken out.
And this is where the checks and balances system failed.
The three branches of government are a system of checks and balances on each other, to ensure that one branch does not become too powerful. For the executive branch to bypass the rule of law and order the killing of an American citizen simply bypasses the judicial branch. The proper thing to do would be to capture al-Alwaki, bring him before a court, and let the court takes its course. It seems that the Obama administration went through such a trial in figuring out how they could kill al-Awlaki that it made it okay for that trial to take the place of an actual trial.
It was the epoch of belief.
|"Hey, I also sound like I'm from|
With Troy Davis, nobody knew what to believe. In his court case, the jury believed one thing. In his media case, everybody believed something else. One jury of his peers found him guilty within two hours, whereas the national jury of his peers continued to find him not guilty for two decades.
|Maybe if he looked more like her...?|
|"Good night, Michelle" vs. "Good night, from Hell."|
He was connected to other domestic terrorists through internet forums. He was connected to terrorism through his subsequent videos denouncing America and calling for jihad. The evidence was clear. But the evidence never had a chance to be seen in court.
For Troy Davis, the evidence was not so clear.
The one thing that continues to be clear is that there was a perversion of justice. A famous quote says
Justice delayed is justice denied.And what is justice denied? Well, that's something we'd have to ask Troy Davis and Anwer al-Awlaki.