Monday, October 10, 2011

Ann Coulter on Troy Davis

We note that Ann Coulter has produced a piece on Troy Davis and the death penalty. Apart from the entertaining style of her writing, we are curious to know about some of the factual / substantive  claims of the piece - especially as they relate to the David case - and what our readers think of them. For example:

Coulter notes the two-week trial featured 34 witnesses for the state and six witnesses for the defense. The jury, she says, consisted of seven blacks and five whites, and it took them "less than two hours to convict."

Per the claim that there was no "physical evidence," Coulter writes:
It has been claimed -- in The New York Times and Time magazine, for example -- that there was no "physical evidence" connecting Davis to the crimes that night. Davis pulled out a gun and shot two strangers in public. What "physical evidence" were they expecting? No houses were broken into, no cars stolen, no rapes or fistfights accompanied the shootings. Where exactly would you look for DNA? And to prove what? I suppose it would be nice if the shell casings from both shootings that night matched. Oh wait -- they did. That's "physical evidence."
Coulter says the "bulk of the evidence" against Davis was "eyewitness testimony," but "that tends to happen when you shoot someone in a busy Burger King parking lot." She also notes several of the eyewitnesses knew Davis personally.

The cop killer was described as "wearing a white shirt, some said it was a white shirt with writing, and some identified it specifically as a white Batman shirt." But no one said an accomplice in a yellow shirt committed the crime.  That is to say, "several of Davis' friends testified -- without recantation -- that he was the one in a white shirt" and "several eyewitnesses, both acquaintances and strangers, specifically identified Davis as the one who shot Officer MacPhail."

Re the fact that seven witnesses "recanted" Coulter notes "one said he was no longer sure he saw Davis shoot the cop, even though he was five feet away at the time." Another  "wasn't a recantation at all, but rather reiterated all relevant parts of her trial testimony, which included a direct identification of Davis as the shooter." And, interestingly:
Only two of the seven alleged "recantations" (out of 34 witnesses) actually recanted anything of value -- and those two affidavits were discounted by the court because Davis refused to allow the affiants to testify at the post-trial evidentiary hearing, even though one was seated right outside the courtroom, waiting to appear. The court specifically warned Davis that his refusal to call his only two genuinely recanting witnesses would make their affidavits worthless. But Davis still refused to call them -- suggesting, as the court said, that their lawyer-drafted affidavits would not have held up under cross-examination.
In sum: "There's a reason more than a dozen courts have looked at Davis' case and refused to overturn his death sentence. He is as innocent as every other executed man since at least 1950, which is to say, guilty as hell." See full Coulter editorial here.

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