Troy Davis Execution Fuels Eyewitness ID Debate

NPR:

Before he was executed in Georgia last week, Troy Davis brought worldwide attention to his case by challenging the trustworthiness of bystanders who said they saw him shoot a police officer. Davis lost the battle to spare his life, but experts say his case adds fuel to an already-simmering debate over how much weight courts should give to eyewitness testimony.

Last month, New Jersey’s top court made it easier for criminal defendants to challenge the credibility of eyewitnesses, while the U.S. Supreme Court is set in November to hear its first case dealing with eyewitness evidence in 34 years. Such issues also played a role in the abolition of Illinois’ death penalty earlier this year and a 2009 law narrowing when capital punishment can be sought in Maryland.

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Capital punishment is one of the controversial issues in America and other countries. While capital punishment is obsolete in most of the developed countries of the world, U.S. still practices death penalty in most of its states and has the support of public opinion; there are organizations and groups who are for or against it and each of them have its own justifications based on moral, religious and emotional grounds.

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