Sunday, July 25, 2010

Quotidian Killing

Roderick Davie is due to be murdered on August 10.
Ho, hum.
On Thursday, the Parole Board issued it's report: Off with his head.  
No surprise there.  Davie didn't ask for clemency, but the Board went through with its charade anyhow. 
Like I said, Ho, hum.
There's tragedy in the lack of interest.  But really, it's just another killing.  If it happens, and there's every reason to think it will, he'll be the 40th person murdered by the state of Ohio since we started killing in 1999 after a 36 year break.  He'll be the 7th person Ohio has murdered this year alone.  There are more killings scheduled through March of next year, and more ready to be scheduled.
I'm struck by, horrified by, the quotidian nature of this.  It's murder, for godssake.  That should garner some attention.
But then I read the report recommending that Governor Ted deny clemency.  Short version:  Davie is a monster.  He has no remorse, no feeling about it at all.  And he's dangerous as an inmate, threatening guards, assaulting his own sister.  Really, all there is to do is put him down like a rabid dog.  Besides,
The courts have reviewed the investigation and trial and found no irregularities warranting correction.
Let's think about that for a bit.  If the courts had found "irregularities warranting correction," Davie would have had a new trial or a new sentencing proceeding or something.  The Board wouldn't now be recommending that the Governor sign off on his murder.
So there's now a new reason to recommend not granting clemency: He's on death row.  If he had a life sentence, presumably that would be one reason (maybe even a sufficient reason) for the Board to suggest he shouldn't be killed.
Yeah, I'm being cynical.  Goes with the territory.
But when the Parole Board says things like that (and while I can't say they haven't before, I only just checked half a dozen of the clemency reports, and of those Davie's is the only one with that line), it demonstrates the carelessness and lack of attention with which they do this.
Ask any Governor, and you'll be told that whether to sign off on death is the toughest part of the job.  They'll talk about agonizing over the decisions.  But here's the reality.  They just sign off on the damn things.  At least most of the time.
It takes the exceptional case.
Maybe that will be Kevin Keith.  Ohio has scheduled his murder for September 15, but that one is messy since there's a pretty good case to be made that he's the wrong guy.  As I've mentioned before, Keith is on death row after prosecutors concealed substantial evidence that he's innocent and fabricated evidence - even making up a witness who doesn't exist - to try and show he was guilty.  
But that's Keith.  Davie?
Just your ordinary guy.  
Just another killing. 
More to come.

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