Why don’t more conservatives oppose the execution of Troy Davis?

As of this typing, the execution of Troy Davis had been stayed, at least for a bit.  Here’s what I don’t get… why do so many conservative supporters of the death penalty seem comfortable with the idea of executing a person when there is so clearly reasonable doubt about the case.  Most opponents of the death penalty, including myself, are opposed in significant part because of very serious concerns about executing innocent people.  It would seem to me, beyond the simple morals of the issue, you really would not want to be constantly undermining popular support for your position by supporting questionable executions.  When we discuss the death penalty in my class– especially after we’ve covered the trade-offs involved in possibly executing the innocent– the supporters almost invariably claim that the death penalty should be reserved for cases where we are basically super-sure that the accused is actually guilty of the crime.  Personally, I don’t think a legal system for and by humans can achieve that level of certainty, but I certainly appreciate the impulse.  What I just don’t get– on so many levels– is the number of people who just basically seem comfortable executing a man when there is clearly so much reasonable doubt.


About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

2 Responses to Why don’t more conservatives oppose the execution of Troy Davis?

  1. Ben Hoffman says:

    Conservatives don’t have a problem killing 100s of thousands of innocent civilians in our two wars, either.

    • Mike Barr says:

      We didn’t kill them — most of them were killed by their countrymen or foreigners whose intent was to kill them. We are not the ones blowing up or mowing down recruits outside a police station.

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