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View Diary: Troy Davis, a defender's perspective (99 comments)

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  •  My great grandfather was falsely convicted, hung (1+ / 0-)
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    Joe Hills Ghost

    For the crime of being an alleged member of the Molly Maguires, an Irish immigrant, and a union organizer. He was convicted for being an accessory in the shooting death of a coal mine operator, 15 years after the fact in a sham trial that was orchestrated by the Pinkerton agency in its efforts on behalf of the coal and rail industries to crush the union movement.

    Worse, he was hung 30 seconds before word was received that a reprieve had arrived from the governor's office. The execution might have been stopped in time but the jailer thought the banging and knocking at the door was being caused by my great grandmother, who had had to be subdued earlier, when in fact it was the telegraph operator calling with the reprieve.

    It's unlikely his appeal to the PA Supreme Court on technical grounds would have been successful, and at the time there was little hope of overturning his conviction for lack of due process because the system was so corrupt and the bias against the Mollies and the Irish was so strong. So he was probably going to be hung regardless, but the added trauma of the late reprieve made the entire episode even more devastating.

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