Troy Anthony Davis: A Reflection
I read a book by John Grisham, attorney, novelist and board member of the Innocence Project. His latest novel, The Confession, involves a murderer who is concerned that a man charged with the crime he committed is about to be executed. Stricken with guilt or so we think, he goes to a minister, confesses and asks the pastor's help in exonerating the man charged with the crime he committed.
As Grisham goes—I have read at least ten of his books, from the Pelican Brief to Runaway Jury, The Summons, Ford Country, The King of Torts, The Appeal, The Last Juror, The Innocent Man, and The Associate and found this novel as compelling as others. While not my favorite, it perhaps haunts me the most given the recent events surrounding Troy Anthony Davis. It could have been written with Troy Anthony in mind.
What is compelling about this book is the legal team Grisham profiles as they fight for their client's life, his profiles of the convicted man's family and their suffering along with the convicted man all the years he has been on death row. The final walk and what the victim's family is says about the man accused of their loved one's death before they know the truth and their silence afterward. Grisham's The Confession," also highlights the media spins and macabre nature of American culture--like vultures feeding on carcasses.
When Clinton reversed the habeas corpus and George W. Bush pushed forward the USA Patroit Act 1 & 2, justice died a second death.
The Confession illustrates classic American justice, I jest, classic injustice,a tale spun like the dog running in circles and getting nowhere which is what happens when one is black and caught in the web called criminal injustice.
The murderer has the class ring of his victim and seems obsessed with her years later. A serial murderer and sex offender, he convinces a pastor to help him break his parole and head out of state to try to convince the governor to listen to his story.
The true case of New Orleans resident, John Thompson, who over the course of 18 years went from Death Row to Freedom, shared in the book Killing Time, (2010), by John Hollway and Ronald M. Gauthier, has much in common with the protagonist in Grisham's novel, as does the case of the late Troy Anthony Davis.
Innocence is not a legal or even a sought after option on the check the box for justice form this nation touts but certainly doesn't pretend to uphold.
I was so happy when I heard that Davis had gotten a momentary stay Sept.21, 2011, and then as I watched the news later on I learned that he was gone—the state of Georgia killed him despite the recanting of all the witnesses. I thought in the real world justice sometimes works—-in the real world bad guys get caught, that they don’t escape and escape again and again, which is what happens in Grisham’s novel.
If Grisham’s character is a metaphor for the justice system-- broken, no shattered, on even its better days, then its time for citizens to activate their Constitutional right to resist tyranny until death--the death of tyranny that is (smile).
The murderer says he is dying and this good deed is a way to get right with god. At the end of the story though, the questionable philanthropist’s intentions become suspect— Was this confession a gamble against himself, he wins?
The guilty man gets attention, appears on the news, is sought after as the defendant’s attorneys scramble to file last minute pleas only to find the door shut five minutes before their arrival, and at the governor’s office aides decide what they will share with him, so he doesn’t see the killer’s taped confession. So when the pastor meets the condemned man, witnesses his killing and then goes with the confessed killer on a hunt for the body, which they find . . . one wonders why we are still executing people since in novels and in real life, we get it wrong.