[Ppnews] Demand Clemency - The Pending Execution of Troy Davis
Political Prisoner News
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Sep 10 11:44:21 EDT 2008
September 10, 2008
A Case for Clemency
The Pending Execution of Troy Davis
By LAURA TATE KAGEL
and JEN MARLOWE
Troy Anthony Davis execution date and time has
been set. If clemency is not granted, Davis will
soon be choosing his last meal and determining
how his body should be disposed of after his
death, scheduled for 7pm on September 23rd.
Davis case for clemency is compelling, and has
already attracted the attention of media and
human rights groups in July of last year.
Twenty-four hours before Davis scheduled
execution on July 16, 2007, the Georgia State
Board of Pardons and Paroles issued a ninety-day
stay to allow it to consider evidence of
innocence presented at Davis clemency hearing.
The Georgia Supreme Court subsequently agreed to
hear the death row prisoner's extraordinary
motion for a new trial, but in March the Court
rejected the motion largely on procedural grounds in a 4-3 vote.
Troubled by this result, Chief Justice Sears stated in her dissent:
] I believe that this case illustrates that
this Courts approach in extraordinary motions
for new trials based on new evidence is overly
rigid and fails to allow an adequate inquiry into
the fundamental question, which is whether or not
an innocent person might have been convicted or
even, as in this case, might be put to death.
In July of 2007, the Board of Pardons and Paroles
said 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.
But were Davis to be granted a new trial today,
the State would have great difficulty proving its
case beyond a reasonable doubt. There was no
physical evidence linking Davis to the crime for
which he was convicted, the 1989 murder of an
off-duty police officer in Savannah, Mark
MacPhail. At the trial, the witness testimony
presented inconsistencies, and since then, seven
of nine non-police witnesses have recanted or
contradicted their original testimony, several
citing that they gave their original statements
against Davis under police intimidation or coercion.
Furthermore, affidavits signed by numerous people
who came forward after Davis' conviction
implicate one of the non-recanting witnesses in
the murder. These affidavits put that witness,
Sylvester Coles, at the scene with a .38 caliber
gun the same caliber as the murder weapon, and
detail how he hid the gun after the shooting in a
dark parking lot and even later boasted about
having committed the murder and escaping
punishment. At the time of the original
investigation, Coles and his lawyer met promptly
with the police, who subsequently neglected to
question Coles involvement in the murder, search
his house for the murder weapon, or include his
picture in witness photo spreads.
The testimony of the other non-recanting witness
is also highly questionable. He identified Davis
at trial as the shooter, although he had claimed
two years earlier that he wouldnt recognize
them [the shooter and another man at the scene]
again except for their clothes.
Numerous national, state, and local human rights
groups and individuals are taking actions to
protest Davis imminent fate. They are organizing
a rally to take place on September 11th at six in
the evening at the State Capitol in Atlanta, a
day before Troys scheduled clemency hearing with
the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles. Amnesty
International launched an on-line letter-writing
to urge the Board to be true to their July 2007
words, stating that no execution would proceed in
Georgia unless and until its members are
convinced that there is no doubt as to the guilt
of the accused. If Troy Anthony Davis, whose case
against him is full of holes, doubts and
discrepancies, is executed on September 23rd, it
will be, indeed, a travesty of justice.
Laura Tate Kagel is the State Death Penalty
Abolition Coordinator for Amnesty International USA in Georgia.
Jen Marlowe is an activist/writer/filmmaker who
has been following Troy Daviss case and corresponding via letters with Davis.
Justice Matters: Rally to Save Troy Davis
Thursday, September 11, 2008
6 - 8 p.m.
Georgia State Capitol
(front steps on Washington St.)
<mailto:troy at aiusa.org>troy at aiusa.org / 404-876-5661 ext. 13
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
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