Troy Anthony Davis: Probably Innocent; About To Be Executed


Troy Anthony Davis:

Troy Davis is set to be executed by the state of Georgia on September 21st for a crime he may not have committed. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear his final appeal earlier this year. But the story remains the same – Troy Davis could very well be innocent.

Davis was convicted on the basis of witness testimony – seven of the nine original witnesses have since recanted or changed their testimony. Troy has survived three previous execution dates, because people like you kept the justice system in check! Let Georgia authorities know you oppose the death penalty for Troy Davis!

Former FBI Director William S. Sessions, also a former federal judge and federal prosecutor, says again today in the AJC, that questions about his guilt continue to plague his conviction:

In 2007, the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles issued a stay of execution for Davis and took the admirable position that it would “not allow an execution to proceed in this State unless and until its members are convinced that there is no doubt as to the guilt of the accused.”

Because this case continues to be permeated by doubt, the Board of Pardons and Paroles’ stance continues to be the right one. In reality, there will always be cases, including capital cases, in which doubts about guilt cannot be erased to an acceptable level of certainty. The Davis case is one of these, and it is for cases like this that executive clemency exists.

Bob Barr, too, again calls for clemency:

I am a longtime supporter of the death penalty. I make no judgment as to whether Davis is guilty or innocent. And surely the citizens of Savannah and the state of Georgia want justice served on behalf of Officer MacPhail.

But imposing an irreversible sentence of death on the skimpiest of evidence will not serve the interest of justice. By granting clemency, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles will adhere to the most sacred principles of American jurisprudence, and will keep a man from being executed when we cannot be assured of his guilt.

John Lewis, Hank Johnson, David Scott, Sanford Bishop are also seeking clemency for Troy Davis.

Facing South has solid background (including a linked timeline.
) on the case:

Dead men literally tell no tales, and the guilt or possible innocence of Davis will go with him to his grave. The possibility of innocence is hardly a stretch. More than a dozen death row inmates have been released in the past two decades as a result of DNA evidence. A legion of other death row inmates have been released because of prosecutorial misconduct that resulted in retrials and acquittals, or pardons after mountainous evidence was presented that cast major doubt on their guilt.

The Davis case is a near textbook example of a death penalty case that reaches nowhere near the oft stated but much abused constitutional high bar of conviction, namely: beyond a reasonable doubt.

John Rudolf at HuffPo:

Legal experts familiar with the case said the recantations and allegations of police coercion badly undermined the state’s case against Davis.

“The record is shredded,” said Russell Covey, a law professor at Georgia State University. “What was presented to that jury is no longer valid evidence.”

But the judge overseeing the hearing, William T. Moore Jr., decided that in order to overturn the original jury verdict, Davis needed not only to cast doubt on the evidence against him, but to provide “clear and compelling” proof of his innocence. In an August 2010 ruling dismissing Davis’ appeal, he declared that while the state’s case “may not be ironclad,” Davis failed to make a showing of “actual innocence” and thus should not be granted a new trial. The evidentiary hearing was the first such legal proceeding in more than 50 years.

Amy Goodman, in The Guardian yesterday, calls it a judicial lynching:

More than a century ago, the legendary muckraking journalist Ida B Wells risked her life when she began reporting on the epidemic of lynchings in the Deep South. She published Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All its Phases in 1892 and followed up with The Red Record in 1895, detailing hundreds of lynchings. She wrote:

“In Brooks County, Georgia, 23 December, while this Christian country was preparing for Christmas celebration, seven Negroes were lynched in 24 hours because they refused, or were unable to tell the whereabouts of a colored man named Pike, who killed a white man … Georgia heads the list of lynching states.”

The planned execution of Davis will not be at the hands of an unruly mob, but in the sterile, fluorescently lit confines of Georgia diagnostic and classification prison in Butts County, near the town of Jackson.

Malicious unlawful convictions happen. And in some cases the refusal to admit guilt has been given as cause for further penalizing inmates. Troy Anthony Davis has maintained his innocence throughout.

Highlights from my previous coverage includes the D.A. on why the trial was fair and Davis deserves to die. Fuller remarks behind paywall here. My post on it here.

Auf Stumbleupon zeigen
Auf tumblr zeigen

  • IndyGuy

    When I lived in Illinois then Governor Ryan halted all executions due to several cases coming to light via DNA evidence. Since then I have changed my stance on executions, being against them. First, it will not bring the dead back and second you could kill an innocent person. Where are all the conservatives in this issue? I thought they were “pro life.” Remember Terri Schivo? Congress convened a special session just for her. I remembering people like Hannity and Laura Ingram screaming that we had to value human life at all costs. That must just be for unborn fetuses I guess.

  • rudi

    Whats a few innocents executed, Old Testament justice keeps crime down in America. So what if were in the top three in people incarcerated. Were in good company with China and Iran…

  • http://wideeyedandreal.blogspot.com ProfElwood

    I’ve always had a problem with death penalty, simply because of its irreversible nature. There’s also a little too much prosecution abuse going on out there.

    @Rudi
    It’s not really “Old Testament” justice unless the entire community has to contribute to the execution. That would have to change some people’s perspective on the matter.

  • EEllis

    Not getting into the morality or even the death penalty part of the case but this guy is guilty as sin. Honestly I think, from my viewpoint anyway, you would have better luck arguing the morality then making believe this guy is innocent. The “recantations” were garbage and the defense wouldn’t even have the people making them testify instead relying on written statements (one was even outside the court doors). The jail house snitch recanted but everyone says no one believed the guy anyway because his testimony sucked so he really didn’t help convict so his recantation doesn’t do anything. That 17 years later some homeless and then crackheads remember things slightly different, because thats the “recantation”, their stories not matching or them not remembering. After 17 years big deal! This is “proof” of nothing. And of course having the opportunity to have these people testify where the judge could talk to them and refusing instead just submitting statements. I’m sorry but that is such a red flag it’s impossible to overlook. This has nothing to do with Davies. This is not about his innocence. It’s about the death penalty.

  • JSpencer

    Apparently the execution of a man who might well be innocent bothers some people not in the least. It makes me glad I was instilled with a conscience. Oh sure, it can be bothersome at times, but I reckon that’s the price of not being a sociopath.

  • EEllis

    Does every thread where someone disagrees have to devolved to not so subtle name calling? Look anyone who says there are 7 out of 9 recantations is a bald faced lier. The case isn’t particularly weak and the man deserved to be convicted. Now that some want there to be a higher standard on death penalty is a discussion. The morality of the state killing anyone could be argued. None of those arguments have any bearing on the legal arguments of the case and certainly don’t make this man innocent.

  • JSpencer

    My comment was a general one and a true one. If you chose to take it personally, that’s your own doing.

  • abfak63

    Has anyone read the District Attorney’s response to the suggestions of Davis’ innocence in the AJC. It is a short read so take a minute – the link is in the blog above.

    THere should really be no doubt of Davis’ guilt. He shot another man earlier in the evening with the same gun he used to murder Mark McPhail. Sounds guilty to me.

    Does he deserve the death penalty? Speaking for myself? Yeah, I think he does but that’s my opinion and I’m only one vote. The arguments in opposition of the execution of Davis are really from people and groups philosphically opposed to the death penalty. … I get it….you’re against the death penalty. If you have a case to make – make it in the legislature where laws are changed all the time. The Georgia Legislature can change this one if the people want it so.

    Worrying that it could be you facing the death penalty? Move to a state where it doesn’t exist or get your legislator to get the law changed.

  • EEllis

    My comment was a general one and a true one. If you chose to take it personally, that’s your own doing.

    Don’t wuss out now. You don’t exhibit much logic or real depth in your posts but I don’t think you are so stupid that your statement wasn’t a swipe at me. You ignore all discussion, facts, any real debate for your little throw off insults and statements.

    Apparently the execution of a man who might well be innocent bothers some people not in the least. It makes me glad I was instilled with a conscience. Oh sure, it can be bothersome at times, but I reckon that’s the price of not being a sociopath.

    See I made a statement about the absurdity of the “probably innocent” in this case. I never stated anything about my preference or position on the death penalty just the misrepresentation of the actual case against Davis. Others stated their opinions of the death penalty or particular case. You however add nothing but insults. Par for the course but why bother?