Troy Davis clemency denied

by Heidi Schlumpf

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The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles voted to deny clemency to Troy Davis, who has attracted high-profile support for his claim that he was wrongly convicted of killing a police officer in 1989. Despite significant doubts about his guilt (as NCR blogger Claire Schaeffer-Duffy noted here), Davis' execution is scheduled for 7 p.m. EDT tomorrow.

Amnesty International has been leading many of the protests in support of Davis, but I'm proud to see a number of prominent Catholics among the rappers and Hollywood types pleading for clemency, among them Savannah’s Catholic bishop emeritus J. Kevin Boland, Atlanta archbishop Wilton Gregory and Pope Benedict. The Diocese of San Jose has the Troy Davis case at the top of its Respect Life webpage (along with a wonderful "seamless garment" mix of other life issues).

Of course, as prolife Catholics, we should oppose the use of the death penalty in any case, since the possibility of life without parole exists as an option. But in cases where there is significant doubt about the person's guilt, it is unconscionable. I say this as someone from a state where a number of innocent people have been released from Death Row.

I often think that some find it easier to advocate on behalf of innocent, unborn children, because they know they were once innocent, unborn children. But many of us have a hard time imagining that we would ever be unjustly facing execution. Yet our faith calls us to see both of those innocent victims as children of God and to advocate for their lives.

Click here to join the last-ditch effort to get the board to reconsider its decision.

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