LaGuardia’s “Lesson” Forum

Lessons Learned Again (New Lessons?)

“The Supremes” have stayed, for a week(seven days, 168 hours), the execution of Mr. Davis.  Thank you to all of you who sent letters and emails to “the powers that be.”  I have to believe that, like prayers, these missives add unquantifiable power to a position: in this case, “life.”  Here is what the NYTimes reported:

With 2 Hours to Spare, Justices Stay Execution

ATLANTA — The United States Supreme Court issued a stay of execution on Tuesday for a Georgia inmate convicted of killing a police officer in 1989, two hours before his scheduled death by lethal injection.

Troy Davis had been scheduled to be executed Tuesday evening in Georgia.

The inmate, Troy A. Davis, 39, was convicted of murdering Mark MacPhail, a Savannah police officer. The Supreme Court, which issued the stay without explanation, will decide Monday whether to grant Mr. Davis’s appeal for a new trial.

Again, thank you for your prayers.

Here is another death-penalty case in the news today. I have two conflicting opinions (and links) of what the case centers on. Is “eyewitness testimony” enough to condemn a man to death? Please read (at least) the excerpts, preferably the entirety of the two cited “articles” (opinion pieces), and write a few sentences about what your opinion is.

The first excerpt is from a passionate editorial in the New York Times on Saturday by Bob Herbert:

Nine witnesses testified against Mr. Davis at his trial in 1991, but seven of the nine have since changed their stories. One of the recanting witnesses, Dorothy Ferrell, said she was on parole when she testified and was afraid that she’d be sent back to prison if she didn’t agree to finger Mr. Davis.

Further Reading on Troy Davis

This second Pro-Death-Penalty Account is from a blog that digests another site to which it is linked. This is a fairly graphic and opinionated “article.” It has this account, which (I think) the Herbert column refutes, or at least calls into question:

Officer MacPhail, wearing his police uniform — including badge, shoulder patches, gun belt, .38 revolver and nightstick — ran to the scene of the disturbance. Davis fled. When Officer MacPhail ordered him to halt, Davis turned around and shot him. Officer MacPhail fell to the ground. Davis, smiling, walked up to the stricken officer and shot him several more times.

Further Reading on Mark Allan McPhail

Please decide whether you think that Troy Anthony Davis should be executed this week for the murder of Mark Allen McPhail. Have your say by typing a few sentences in the comments section of this post.


September 22, 2008 - Posted by | a lesson before dying, capital punishment, circumstantial evidence, death penalty, georgia, Uncategorized


  1. I don’t think you should be able to condemn a man just by eye witness testimony because it can be easily manipulated and changed around. There should be hard evidence to prove he is guilty.

    Comment by George | September 22, 2008

  2. Troy Anthony Davis should be executed this week for the murder of Mark Allen McPhail.

    Comment by Gregoire | September 22, 2008

  3. I don’t believe that we as humans have any right to take someones life. I feel that that if you do something you should be punished to the fullest extent. But sending someone to the other side is not a punishment. You took them away from there pain here. So in fact it not a punishment at all.

    Comment by Lucy Musillo | September 22, 2008

  4. If the conviction is based on testimony, and the large majority of the testimony has changed since the trial took place, then how could the conviction stand? If everyone realizes the system is flawed, why not change the system instead of going forward with an obviously unjust action? The nice thing about the US is that we can change our laws when enough of us see fit, or make exceptions. I hope they don’t execute him, and in fact go back to court with whatever physical evidence they have.

    Comment by Naomi Ben-Yehuda | September 23, 2008

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