First of all, let me start by saying that I agree wholeheartedly that the DA and the police have commited practically every prosecutorial abuse possible here: biased line-up identification, interrogation and coercion of minors without their parents' presence, use of jail house snitches, staged re-enactments with witnesses, and pressure on witnesses to converge their stories.
However that doesn't mean Troy Davis is innocent.
This document is a must-read regardless of where you stand on the case.
If you have time, the following links are also useful:
Contemporary news articles
A rather sniveling and self serving account by the prosecutor
I will just be brief and present my thoughts:
1. There were actually 3 shootings that night in that neighborhood of Savannah. A shooting at a pool party, a later shooting of Officer Macpheil at a Burger King parking lot, and then finally a drive by shooting at the pool party that was apparently a revenge shooting for the first shooting. Troy Davis had the bad luck to be present and implicated in the first two shootings.
2. While ballistics study on the actual bullets proves to be inconclusive, the DA claims that the shell casings from the two shooting scenes apparently matched. The defense does not appear to have an argument against the shell casing study.
3. The person fingered by the defense - Redd Coles - was not present at the pool party. Troy Davis was present at both the pool party and the Burger King parking lot.
4. One witness for the defense actually claims to have been present at all 3 shootings. Unfortunately his credibility was shot down in cross examination during the trial. The fact that the last 2 shootings happened within minutes of each other makes it an impossibility in any event. There is also no corroboration for this person's stories.
5. Much was said about the identification of Troy Davis. It is absolutely true that the prosecution has prejudiced the witnesses in every possible way prior to having them ID Troy Davis in the line-up. However as it turns out much of the state's case rests on the clothes Troy Davis was wearing that night - a white batman shirt with dark pants and most likely a hat; as opposed to the yellow shirt that Redd Coles was wearing.
6. The homeless man who was assaulted that evening insisted that he was blindsided by another person while he was arguing with Coles.
7. It is not true that the prosecution managed to intimidate the witnesses into giving false testimonies during the trial. They managed to get the various witnesses to sign their statements during the investigations (some of the witnesses were functional illiterates), but during the trial quite a few witnesses actually openly testified that they were coerced by the police into identifying Davis. So this is nothing new. It is already understood by the jury (7 blacks/ 5 whites) that the police were up to their usual bullying tactics. But even if you discount all of the testimonies regarding the positive identification of Davis' face, you are still left with the identification of Davis' shirt, and the placement of Davis at both crime scenes.
8. Troy Davis' defense team absolutely shot their own credibility by refusing to call even one of those recanting witnesses to the stand during the evidentiary trial. Nor did they call Coles to the stand even though their defense relies heavily on fingering Cole as the shooter.
9. Troy Davis claimed to have turned and run away as soon as he heard Officer Macpheil say 'Halt'. Why would he run away if he, as he claims, has no involvement in either the pool party shooting, or the Burger King beating? He didn't stop running neither- he went out of town for 4 days after the incidence, and didn't return to turn himself in until the police started putting his face on every lamp post.
10. In contrast Coles voluntarily spoke to the police the very next morning after.
I understand people are emotional and upset after this execution. I find absolutely no joy in Troy Davis' execution even if I remain unconvinced of his innocence. Nor am I particularly impressed with the criminal justice system. However as progressives, we really have to be careful about expending our political capital in pursuing these types of cases. Unless we really have solid proof of his innocence, we really shouldn't go around proclaiming things like "the State of Georgia just murdered an innocent man", etc. Surely you remember the Duke Lacrosse rape case and the Jenna 6 case which became cause-celebre for the left, but turned out to be completely bogus (Duke case) or far more nuanced and disturbing than reported (Jenna 6 case). This is how we lose credibility with the voters.
As an aside - as a diary host, I need to add, all my diaries are no-holds-barred free speech zones. As KPFA's Larry Bensky used to say to his callers "You want to disagree? Well, you came to the right place."