BREAKING: Troy Davis, an almost certainly innocent man in Georgia, has been given an execution date of September 21st.
If you have never heard of Troy Davis, please take a moment to familiarize yourself with his case:
Troy Davis was convicted of murdering a Georgia police officer in 1991. Nearly two decades later, Davis remains on death row — even though the case against him has fallen apart.Some important points about Troy's case:
The case against him consisted entirely of witness testimony which contained inconsistencies even at the time of the trial. Since then, all but two of the state's non-police witnesses from the trial have recanted or contradicted their testimony.
Many of these witnesses have stated in sworn affidavits that they were pressured or coerced by police into testifying or signing statements against Troy Davis.
One of the two witnesses who has not recanted his testimony is Sylvester "Red" Coles — the principle alternative suspect, according to the defense, against whom there is new evidence implicating him as the gunman. Nine individuals have signed affidavits implicating Sylvester Coles.
Troy Davis has faced execution three times for a crime he may not have committed. In an unprecedented evidentiary hearing held in a federal district court in Savannah, Georgia in June, 2010, he was able to present evidence supporting his innocence claim. However, the standard for proving his innocence was “extraordinarily high”, especially given the lack of physical and scientific evidence in his case. The federal judge ruled that he did not meet the high standard, despite the fact that doubts about his guilt remain unresolved.
*There is no physical evidence connecting him with this crime
*7 out of 9 of the original eyewitnesses have recanted, saying they were coerced into testifying
*Jury members have come forward to say “If I knew then what I know now, Troy Davis would not be on death row”
What you can do (h/t Angry Black Lady Chronicles)
1.If you haven’t signed the Amnesty petition yet, please do so by clicking here.
2.If you are a member of the legal profession or clergy, please join the sign-on letters being circulated in support of Mr. Davis’s request for clemency. Legal professionals click here; clergy, click here.
3.Write a letter to Georgia Governor Nathan Deal (address and sample letter below): In this case, it will be important not to state your conviction that Mr. Davis is innocent, but that there are too many doubts to move forward with the execution. In the words of a Georgia law professor: “A verdict that is not ironclad is not good enough to support the death penalty.”
4.Write a letter to Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles (address and sample letter below): Here again, it is important to focus on the holes in the case — the fact that anything less than an ironclad verdict cannot be the basis for the death penalty.
5.Watch the following documentary regarding clemency for Troy, and pass it on-
“The State of Georgia does not have to execute Troy Davis and it should not execute Troy Davis,” in the words of Prof Russell Covey, Criminal Law Expert, Georgia State University. “There is one fail-safe built into the system that still exists, and that’s the clemency process.”
6.ASK OTHERS TO DO LIKEWISE, particularly citizens of Georgia. Send a link to this post, or to any of the above information, and ask your friends and loved ones to take action. Twitter and Facebook are great ways to spread news far and wide — if you are on either, please use them in support of Troy.
Sample letter to Governor Deal (if you are a member of the legal profession or clergy, please say so in your letter):
Governor Nathan Deal
203 State Capitol SW
Atlanta, GA 30334
Dear Governor Deal,
I write to you today with regard to the case of Troy Davis, convicted of the murder of Police Officer Mark MacPhail twenty years ago.
The murder of Officer MacPhail was a horrifying crime, one for which his family surely deserves to see justice done. But given the fact that the case against Mr. Davis has unraveled over the years, I simply cannot believe that executing Mr. Davis would do anything but add injustice to the world.
Surely the death penalty should only be brought to bear against those against whom the state has an ironclad case, and the case against Mr. Davis has unraveled badly. There is no physical evidence linking Mr. Davis to the crime, seven out of the nine eyewitnesses have recanted, and many witnesses have implicated another man all together, someone reported to have boasted of the crime to friends — one of the original witnesses. There are scores of unresolved questions about what happened the night of the murder, and only one thing is clear: There is overwhelming doubt.
Under such circumstances, the state simply does not have enough clarity to justify a death sentence, and to move forward with the execution of Mr. Davis at this time would not only be a subversion of justice, but it would be a gross disservice to the citizens of Georgia and the United States who depend upon their justice system to be genuinely fair.
I in no way seek to deny or diminish the pain and suffering the MacPhail family has endured, but executing Troy Davis will not bring them justice. Please act quickly to grant Mr. Davis clemency.
Sample letter to the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles (if you are a member of the legal profession or clergy, please say so in your letter):
Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles
2 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, SE
Suite 458, Balcony Level, East Tower
Atlanta, Georgia 30334-4909.
To the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles,
In the interest of justice, I appeal to you to grant clemency to Troy Davis, who is currently scheduled to be executed on September 21. He was sentenced to death in 1991 for the murder of Police Officer Mark MacPhail.
I am deeply concerned that Mr. Davis may be executed despite serious doubts regarding his guilt, and the fact that the case against him has steadily unraveled over the years. There is no physical evidence linking Mr. Davis to the crime, seven out of nine eyewitnesses have recanted, and many witnesses have implicated another man all together, someone reported to have boasted of the crime to friends — one of the original witnesses. There are scores of unresolved questions about what happened the night of the murder, and only one thing is clear: There is overwhelming doubt.
The murder of Officer MacPhail was tragic, and I in no way seek to deny or diminish the pain and suffering the MacPhail family has endured, but executing Troy Davis will not bring them justice. Please act quickly to grant Mr. Davis clemency.
Sadly, this case is hauntingly similar to the case of Edward Earl Johnson, who was featured in the documentary 14 Days in May. If you have not seen this documentary, I highly suggest you do, because it will change your life and really drive home the importance of saving Troy's
*Updated (h/t chuckvw) Color of Change is raising money to run ads in state and mobilize local action, please help out if you can*