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Capital Punishment: Troy Davis

On September 21st, 2011, Troy Anthony Davis is going to die.  This has been decided by the Georgia Board of Pardons, who has denied his clemency request at the last minute.  As such, he is going to be executed tomorrow by lethal injection.

For those who aren’t aware of the case, Troy Davis was convicted in 1991 of the 1989 murder of police officer Mark MacPhail in Savannah, GA.  He was sentenced to death that year and has remained on death row ever since.  September 21st will be his fourth execution date, after earning reprieves in 2007 and 2008.  Since then, Davis and his legal team have repeatedly appealed his conviction, although they have not been able to convince a judge to find him innocent.  A Supreme Court appeal was rejected without comment.

You can read all the details here: Wikipedia.

A couple of things to note:

  1. There is, to our knowledge, NO physical evidence linking Davis to the crime.
  2. Nearly all of the material witnesses in the 1991 trial who had initially testified against Davis have recanted said testimony, citing police pressure or personal reasons (e.g. a grudge against the defendant) for their false statements in the initial trial.
  3. Judge William Moore, who heard the federal appeal in 2010, argued that Davis’s legal team bungled in not issuing Redd Coles a subpoena early enough to compel him to appear in court.  Eyewitnesses now suggest that Coles, who initially implicated Davis in the murder, has since confessed to the killing himself.

No physical evidence.  Key witnesses recanting their testimony.  Davis has maintained his innocence for over 20 years.  No physical evidence.  No witness testimony.

The State of Georgia is going to murder Troy Davis.

For anyone who was sickened by the cheers Rick Perry earned during the recent debate when he discussed his executionary bona fides, this should sicken you too.

I don’t know if Troy Davis killed Officer MacPhail that night in 1989 or not.  But I do know that capital punishment, whatever one’s ultimate opinion on the matter, is absolutely unconscionable in the presence of reasonable doubt.

No physical evidence.  No witness testimony.

This is not the kind of society we ought to want to build.

Take Action Now – AmnestyUSA

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