Sunday, October 19, 2008

Take Action To Save Troy Davis

I wrote two posts about the Troy Davis case on September 23, asking readers to sign a petition for a stay of execution. Davis was convicted in 1991 of murdering Savannah police officer Mark A. MacPhail, who was shot while trying to break up a fight in a Burger King parking lot. Davis (shown at left) claimed that he was in a nearby pool hall and had left before MacPhail arrived.

The New York Times (10/15/08) reported that, after granting Davis a stay of execution, the Supreme Court has declined to hear his appeal. Davis could be executed soon, despite the doubts his case raises:

The case has led to an outpouring of support for Mr. Davis, largely because seven of nine witnesses against him have recanted their testimony, with two claiming that the police had pressured them to testify against him. Prosecutors presented no physical evidence and no murder weapon, and three witnesses have said another man admitted to the murder.

World leaders including former President Jimmy Carter, Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa and Pope Benedict XVI have challenged the fairness of Mr. Davis’s conviction.

...Jared Feuer, the Southern regional director for Amnesty International, said he was “shocked and saddened” by the court’s action on Tuesday.

“This decision shows how flawed and immoral the death penalty is,” Mr. Feuer said. “The court had been asked to rule on the basic question of guilt and innocence and the constitutional right of an individual to not be executed when there is doubt of his guilt. The court ducked its obligation.”

There is clearly a case to be made for a retrial for Davis, especially with his life on the line: seven recantations, no physical evidence, no murder weapon and three witnesses pointing to another man.

Amnesty International USA has put out an appeal to stop Georgia authorities from carrying out the execution and allowing an appeal to go forward. I urge everyone to join Amnesty in taking action in behalf  of a man sentenced to death despite a tainted case and serious claims of innocence:

1. To write a letter a newspaper editor on the case, click here.

2. To call call on the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles to reconsider its previous decision and grant clemency, click here.

3. Go to or text TROY to 90999 to add their voices to the over 200,000 that have already taken action on this case.

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