[Ppnews] Sister of Death Row Prisoner Troy Davis Responds to Supreme Court Ruling
Political Prisoner News
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Mar 30 10:09:20 EDT 2011
<http://www.democracynow.org/shows/2011/3/29>March 29, 2011
"Shocked and Appalled": Sister of Death Row
Prisoner Troy Davis Responds to Supreme Court Ruling
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear
the appeal of well-known Georgia death row
prisoner Troy Anthony Davis, likely setting the
stage for Georgia to schedule his execution.
Davis was convicted in the 1989 killing of
off-duty white police officer, Mark MacPhail.
Since then, seven of the nine non-police
witnesses who fingered Davis have recanted their
testimony. No physical evidence ties Davis to the
crime scene. With his legal appeals exhausted,
Daviss fate rests largely in the hands of
Georgias Board of Pardons and Parole, which
could commute his death sentence and spare his
life. We speak with Troy Daviss sister, Martina
Correia. No one wants to look at the actual
innocence, and no one wants to look at the
witness recantation as a real strong and viable
part of this case, Correia says. I think there
needs to be a global mobilization about Troys case."
Correia, anti-death penalty activist and sister
to Georgia death row prisoner Troy Davis.
AMY GOODMAN: On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court
refused to hear the appeal of the well-known
Georgia death row prisoner Troy Anthony Davis,
likely setting the stage for Georgia to schedule
his execution. Troy Davis was convicted in 1989
of killing an off-duty white police officer, Mark
MacPhail. Since then, seven of the nine
non-police witnesses who fingered Davis have
recanted their testimony. Theres no physical
evidence that ties Davis to the crime scene.
His case has garnered widespread national and
international support from figures like Pope
Benedict, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former U.S.
President Jimmy Carter, all calling for clemency
in his case. John Lewis, the congressman from
Georgia, has also weighed in. With his legal
appeals exhausted, the fate of Troy Davis rests
largely in the hands of Georgias Board of
Pardons and Parole, which could commute his death sentence and spare his life.
Earlier this month, federal regulators seized
Georgias entire stockpile of sodium thiopental,
a sedative used to carry out lethal injections.
This means even if the state sets a date for Troy
Daviss execution, it cant carry it out until
the Drug Enforcement Administration concludes its
investigation or Georgia switches to another drug.
For more on these developments, Im joined now by
Troy Daviss older sister, his staunchest
defender, Martina Correia. Shes an anti-death
penalty activist. Shes in Savannah, Georgia.
Shes joining us on the Democracy Now! video stream from her home.
Martina, welcome to Democracy Now! Talk about
this latest development, enormous setback for
Troy, the Supreme Court refusing to hear his case.
MARTINA CORREIA: Yes, good morning, and thank you for having me.
We were really shocked and appalled yesterday
when we received the news that the U.S. Supreme
Court had denied Troys petition for a new trial
and denied the petition to ask the lower courts
to at least look at the new evidence. And so, you
know, it was a total setback and shock to the
attorneys, as well, because when the U.S. Supreme
Court deemed in June of 2010 that the lower
courts in Savannah should listen to the new
evidence, they let one judge decide whether or
not he felt he believed the new evidence enough
to give Troy a new trial. And, you know, what
this did was it set the stage, because they
brought Troy back to the same community, same
court system, same prosecutor that actually had
convicted him initially. And so, when you walked
into the courtroom, the judge had a demeanor that
no matter what Troys lawyers had to present, no
matter what the witnesses had to say, he already
had a predisposed decision about denying Troy.
And then, when he sent that information to the
U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Supreme Courtof
course, the Court has changed its dynamic a
little bithas refused to hear the case, because
everyone just keeps passing this, and no one
wants to look at the actual innocence, and no one
wants to look at the witness recantation as a
real strong and viable part of this case, even
though new witnesses have come forward. They were
actually criminalized in the hearing in June and
made to feel ostracized by coming forward. And it
was really amazing, because the police officer
who testified at the hearing could not remember
anything about the case, and they actually had
selective amnesia. So the judge said that he
would believe the police officers over recanted
testimony of any witnesses. So, it didnt matter
what we had to say or what we had to do, the
judge had already predisposed his self against Troy.
And so, when we went back to the U.S. Supreme
Court, we were hoping that they would give us
some relief, because the judge did not even
follow directions given by the Court. But the
Court again decided that it doesnt want to
handle the case, and it just wants to pass the
buck. So they did not deem to hear the case nor
ask the lower courts to hear the case.
AMY GOODMAN: Martina, what was the most
compelling new evidence that you felt needed to be heard?
MARTINA CORREIA: Well, there were three new
witnesses who had heard Sylvester "Red" Coles,
the other person involved in the case, who he had
confessed to and that he had been bragging about
killing a police officer. And two of these people
had no criminal history. And, you know, the
judge, when they got up on the stand, the judge
was like, "You know, if youre another witness
going to get up here and say Sylvester Coles did
it, you know, if Sylvester Coles is not here, how
can we take your word over his?"
So, you know, theyone person had come from the
hospital, having surgery, just to testify, and
her voice was a little low because she had
surgery on her throat. And the judge was like,
"If you cant speak louder, were not going to
listen to your testimony." And she was like, "I
just got out of the hospital. This is the loudest
I can speak." Of course, we could hear her. But,
you know, it was like the judge didnt want to
hear anything anybody had to say. And a lot of people
AMY GOODMAN: Martina, we have 10 seconds. What do
you think needs to be done right now?
MARTINA CORREIA: I think there needs to be a
global mobilization about Troys case, and the
fact that in the United States its not
unconstitutional to execute an innocent person
needs to be addressed once and for all by the
U.S. Supreme Court. And I think that we should
get as many people involved, pro- and non-death
penalty people, to stand up and say, "This is not
why we support the death penalty. Killing
innocent people does not bring justice to be either family."
AMY GOODMAN: People can go to our website at
democracynow.org for the whole archive of
coverage of Troy Daviss case. Martina Correia, thanks for joining us.
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
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