<< Davis Execution Delayed, But Carried Out | Main | Meanwhile, the Beat Goes On, Dahlia Lithwick Style >>

The Facts You Won't Hear About Troy Davis


Ann Coulter is a controversial figure to be sure, but her article telling the truth about Troy Davis and the strength of the evidence against him is very much worth the read  --  for its own merit, and as an illustration of how much the mainstream media has kept under wraps about this case.  We've heard again and again about the Pope, Bob Barr and the ever fatuous Jimmy Carter, but precious little about what actually happened.  Ms. Coulter fills us in.  I give one sample below, but her entire piece is worth the read:

It's nearly impossible to receive a death sentence these days - unless you do something completely crazy like shoot a cop in full view of dozens of witnesses in a Burger King parking lot, only a few hours after shooting at a passing car while exiting a party.

That's what Troy Davis did in August 1989. Davis is the media's current baby seal of death row.

After a two-week trial with 34 witnesses for the state and six witnesses for the defense, the jury of seven blacks and five whites took less than two hours to convict Davis of Officer Mark MacPhail's murder, as well as various other crimes. Two days later, the jury sentenced Davis to death.


"Ann Coulter is a controversial figure to be sure..." That is, in my opinion, a serious understatement. Coulter is a lightning rod, and makes a very nice living as a lightning rod.

In my opinion (again), the fact that it is Coulter who has published a truthful article about the Davis case hurts rather than helps, because she has severely damaged her own credibility by making outrageous statements at almost every given opportunity. Therefore, the other side need only say "look, Ann Coulter says Davis is guilty," and that is enough (for many people) to prove the opposite.

My point may be summed up as follows: With friends like Ann Coulter, who needs enemies?

I looked all over the place for something, anything, in the mainstream media that collected the actual facts of the crime and laid out the evidence of guilt.

Ann Coulter's piece does, and I couldn't find anything nearly as good. As ever with me, it's not about persons, it's about facts. She has the facts. Many are dynamite. Some of them I didn't even know, since I generally read the MM.

If you have or come across a piece that lays it out as well as hers, I urge you to put it up (now that you have made a welcome appearance as a guest blogger).

The most conspicuous thing about notablogger's comment is that it doesn't contribute anything at all substantive to the discussion. What notablogger said has nothing to do with the issue itself. It's just an ad hominem remark, and not a particularly witty one either. Even by the most liberal standards his comment shouldn't be judged welcome. It's just trolling.

But then, I suppose, much of that could be said of my responsive comment here... not that that makes what I said any less true.

I think notablogger makes a point worth discussing. The particular Coulter column is correct and an important correction to the very heavily biased press coverage this case has received. For the press to continue to report Davis's PR machine's spin instead of the court findings is a disgrace.

On the other hand, Coulter does say a lot of cringe-inducing things. I don't agree with notablogger that the article hurts rather than helps because of that association, but I understand where she is coming from.

Sorry, but I disagree. The strength of Coulter's arguments has nothing to do with what she has elsewhere said. The merits of her current claims can be assessed no more intelligently with reference to anything else she has said than without. It wouldn't matter if she were retarded, clinically insane, or a person who finds "The Family Circus" funny (in which case she would be profoundly insane albeit not clinically so). If she'd been 180 degrees wrong about everything else she's ever said in her entire life, it would have no bearing on whether she's right about this. Everything she's saying, we can check for ourselves.

My only point is this: It is regrettable that a lightning rod like Coulter seems to be the only one reporting the facts of the Davis case. I disagree with williamsa, in that the credibility of the speaker is a critical component of the value attributed to the speaker's comments by others. For example, I deal with several attorneys who, based on their past conduct, are given little credibility by the courts in which they appear. This makes it very difficult for these attorneys to make a good point when they have one to make.

Kent also made my point much better than I apparently did: the "cringe-worthy" statements in Coulter's article serve only to further diminish the credibility of her reporting on this case.

"For example, I deal with several attorneys who, based on their past conduct, are given little credibility by the courts in which they appear."

What a shame some judges don't have the ability to analyze the merits of a factual and/or legal claim themselves. Unless the lawyers are themselves witnesses, it shouldn't matter at all that the judges don't find them credible, because a lawyer is merely supposed to make an argument based on a record. The court has to check the record, look at the governing law, and decide whether the arguments have merit. If they're influenced by their views of the lawyer instead of by the applicable facts and law, then they have no business serving on the bench.

I won't deny that there are people in positions of power who'll discount a legal argument based on their opinion of the lawyer. But those people are all highly deficient in reasoning ability. Either an argument is right or wrong; the person making it doesn't matter from a logical perspective.

Leave a comment

Monthly Archives