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Troy Davis Faces Execution Fourth, Likely Last, Time

 

(APN) ATLANTA -- Troy Davis, the Georgia man whose death row case has drawn international
attention, has again been scheduled for execution for September 21, 2011, but advocates
hope to convince the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles to grant last-minute clemency.
Davis was convicted of shooting a police officer, Mark MacPhail, in Savannah in 1989, but since then, seven of
nine witnesses have recanted their testimony against Davis, and two other witnesses have
implicated another individual as the murderer.
This is the fourth time Davis has had an execution date, although this time he has probably
exhausted his appeals.
Most recently, the Supreme Court of the US ordered a hearing in the trial court as to whether
Davis could prove his innocence claims.  But the trial court ruled against Davis, setting him
back on a path where a new execution date was only a matter of time.
"We are focused right now on educating people about the doubts that continue to persist,
encouraging people to make concerns heard to the Board of Pardons and Paroles, who has ability 
to weigh in and prevent the execution and really step in in a situation where the legal process 
has failed to alleviate some doubts that Troy Davis is guilty for a crime with which he could 
pay with his life," Laura Moye, Death Penalty Abolition Campaign coordinator for Amnesty International
USA, told Atlanta Progressive News.
"The Board has very wide discretion at what they can look to to grant relief, they are not confined by the
narrow parameters of the legal process, this narrow focus on process and procedure that has hampered
Troy's ability to have his innocence claims taken seriously," Moye said.
Meanwhile, despite the fact that the Board previously ruled against Davis, there are at least two
factors which may lead to a different ruling this time.  First, three of the five Board members are
new to the Board and have not heard Davis's case before; and second, there are two new witnesses who
have implicated another man as the culprit.
One witness, Benjamin Gordon, implicated another man, his relative, Sylvester Coles, as the killer.
Meanwhile, another woman says she witnessed to Coles admitting to her that he shot MacPhail.
When the Supreme Court of the US granted Davis a hearing in the trial court on his innocence claims,
Justice Anthony Scalia dissented, calling the new hearing a "fool's errand."  In retrospect, it appears
to some extent, he was right.
"What the problem with the legal system has been is it has been so focused on procedure, it hasn't been 
asking a more fundamental quesiton which is can we rely on the conviction?" Moye said.
"Troy Davis was given an enormous task of proving innocence at the evidentiary hearing in Savannah 
last summer.  He was given a task that was almost impossible to achieve without physical evidence, 
and with witnesses that the judge didn't want to believe," Moye said.
Davis first faced execution in July 2007, but the Board granted a ninety day stay on July 16 so it could review
Davis's case further.  In the meantime, the Supreme Court of Georgia granted a review of Davis's case,
which Davis later lost.  The Board later also ruled against Davis.
Davis faced execution a second time in September 2008, but the Supreme Court of the US granted a stay on
September 23, to allow time to consider an appeal the question of whether to grant a new trial, which was
later rejected.
Davis then faced execution again a third time in October 2008, but the 11th Circuit federal court stayed
the execution on October 24 connected to Davis's innocence claims, which were different than his appeals or requests for
a new trial.
"Psychologicly it must be a torturous process to have someone repeatedly come close to their death.  Most
murders aren't even like that," Moye said.
(END / 2011)

(APN) ATLANTA -- Troy Davis, the Georgia man whose death row case has drawn international attention, has again been scheduled for execution for September 21, 2011, but advocates hope to convince the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles to grant last-minute clemency.

Davis was convicted of shooting a police officer, Mark MacPhail, in Savannah in 1989, but since then, seven of nine witnesses have recanted their testimony against Davis, and two other witnesses have implicated another individual as the murderer.

This is the fourth time Davis has had an execution date, although this time he has probably exhausted his appeals.  So, this will likely be the last time; either he will be pardoned or he will be executed.

Most recently, the Supreme Court of the US ordered an extraordinary hearing in the trial court as to whether Davis could prove his innocence claims.  But the trial court ruled against Davis, setting him back on a path where a new execution date was only a matter of time.

"We are focused right now on educating people about the doubts that continue to persist, encouraging people to make concerns heard to the Board of Pardons and Paroles, who has the ability to weigh in and prevent the execution and really step in in a situation where the legal process has failed to alleviate some doubts that Troy Davis is guilty for a crime for which he could pay with his life," Laura Moye, Death Penalty Abolition Campaign Director for Amnesty International USA, told Atlanta Progressive News.

"The Board has very wide discretion at what they can look to to grant relief, they are not confined by the narrow parameters of the legal process, this narrow focus on process and procedure that has hampered Troy's ability to have his innocence claims taken seriously," Moye said.

Meanwhile, despite the fact that the Board previously ruled against Davis, there are at least two factors which may lead to a different ruling this time.  First, three of the five Board members are new to the Board and have not heard Davis's case before; and second, there are two new witnesses who have implicated another man as the culprit, who have not yet testified before the Board.

One witness, Benjamin Gordon, implicated another man, his relative, Sylvester Coles, as the killer.  Meanwhile, another woman says she witnessed Coles admitting to her that he shot MacPhail.

When the Supreme Court of the US granted Davis a hearing in the trial court on his innocence claims, Justice Antonin Scalia dissented, calling the new hearing a "fool's errand."  In retrospect, it appears to some extent, he was right.

"What the problem with the legal system has been is it has been so focused on procedure, it hasn't been asking a more fundamental question which is can we rely on the conviction?" Moye said.

"Troy Davis was given an enormous task of proving innocence at the evidentiary hearing in Savannah last summer.  He was given a task that was almost impossible to achieve without physical evidence, and with witnesses that the judge didn't want to believe," Moye said.

Davis first faced execution in July 2007, but the Board granted a ninety day stay on July 16 so it could review Davis's case further.  In the meantime, the Supreme Court of Georgia granted a review of Davis's case, which Davis later lost.  The Board later also ruled against Davis.

Davis faced execution a second time in September 2008, but the Supreme Court of the US granted a stay on September 23, to allow time to consider an appeal on the question of whether to grant a new trial, which was later rejected.

Davis then faced execution again a third time in October 2008, but the 11th Circuit federal court stayed the execution on October 24 connected to Davis's innocence claims, which were legally different than his appeals or requests for a new trial.

"Psychologically it must be a torturous process to have someone repeatedly come close to their death.  Most murders aren't even like that," Moye said.

(END / 2011)

 


Comments (10)

Mark A
Said this on 9-8-2011 At 01:26 am

Thanks for posting this important story.  The statements of the witnesses have not been read often enough.  People can learn more about the issues in Troy's case at http://www.troydaviscase.com

metta
Said this on 9-8-2011 At 02:28 am

Thank you for that link, that information, Mark A!

Only skimmed it, so far, but it looks very clear and accurate.

metta
Said this on 9-8-2011 At 02:21 am

Excellent piece. You, APN, went to an outstanding source for this information, and i can not thank you enough!!

Thank you, too, Laura!!

DebB
Said this on 9-8-2011 At 10:36 am

I voted for President Obama and will vote for him again, if he cleans up his act. First there was the bombing of Libya, then the appointment of Mr. Taylor, GMO/Monsanto guru to be in charge of our food supply. If the President allows this 'legal' murder to take place instead of granting full clemency or exoneration to Mr. Davis, then I know President Obama cannot be trusted in his capacity.  The pressure of the corporate-backed elite and/or food poisoning is affecting his critical thinking process.  This spells danger for the majority of people in this country and thus worldwide.

BTDT
Said this on 9-8-2011 At 05:18 pm

Well said...

Sharon
Said this on 9-8-2011 At 08:05 pm

What are you smoking? What does the President of the United States have to do with this case? You're just here to confuse the issue at hand. You never voted for the President. Don't insult our intelligence!

matt pizuti
Said this on 9-8-2011 At 10:44 pm

It's important to note that President Obama does not have the power to grant clemency to Troy Davis.

The president can pardon or grant clemecy to federal criminals in federal prison or scheduled for federal execution; Troy Davis is under control of Georgia.

Only Georgia's governor can offer pardon or clemency (and through the gov's authority, the parole board, since parole boards are part of the executive branch).

rwhitene
Said this on 9-17-2011 At 02:00 pm

are you kidding? president obama is the worst president in the history of this nation. He is a bold face liar, and not a US citizen. He isn't a leader and can't even give a proper speach without teleprompters. My God it is people like you who keep this country down.

RDW

Emil Falch
Said this on 9-13-2011 At 10:52 am

I believe it is a good thing that three of the five Board members are new to the Board and have not heard Davis's case before. We need members who can look into this case with fresh eyes. This case has failed because it has been so caught up in a narrow focus on procedure and technicality. However, the five Board members have wide discretion in making clemency decision, which means they can focusing on the fundamental question about whether Georgia can rely on Davis` conviction anymore. And the answer to this question is obvious: There is too much doubt to execute Troy Davis. We should speak up, and make that clear. Visit http://ncadp.org/#Troy_Front_Page and take action!     

Emil Falch
Said this on 9-20-2011 At 02:47 pm

After nearly 1 million petition signatures delivered to stop the execution of Troy Davis, calls for clemency from the Pope, Reagan's FBI Director, and countless others, clemency for Troy Davis was today denied.

Learn more and take action to help Troy Davis here: bit.ly/oIzg74

 

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