Troy Davis Facing Execution in Georgia Despite Recantation of Eye-witnesses

Dear Friends,
Please take the below recommended action to help save the life of Troy Davis, who is scheduled to be executed tomorrow. I attended a protest today at the (un)Supreme Court to appeal to the Justices to grant a stay of execution for Troy. About 25 people attended the protest.
We keep our eyes on the prize!!!
In peace and hope,
Art

Troy Davis Facing Execution in Georgia Despite Recantation of Eye-witnesses

Posted: September 11, 2008
Troy Davis has been scheduled for execution on September 23 in Georgia, despite serious doubts about his guilt. The state Parole Board has scheduled a clemency hearing on September 12 to review evidence related to the fact that seven of the nine eye-witnesses that testified against Davis have recanted their statements. Davis’ lawyers say they have evidence exonerating him and implicating another person as the killer. The Parole Board previously raised questions about Davis’ guilt and granted a stay of his execution 24 hours before his July 2007 execution date.
Despite the witnesses’ statements that they aren’t sure it was him and claims of new evidence, the Georgia Supreme Court has refused to grant Davis a new trial. Davis’ attorney feels the Parole Board is his best chance for relief, stating, “We think the Georgia Pardons and Parole Board is the fail safe. We have somebody sitting on Death Row… who is innocent.” The recent developments in the case have drawn support for Davis from Amnesty International, civil rights activists, the European Parliament, and Pope Benedict XVI. More than 100,000 letters and petitions have been collected by Amnesty International in support of Davis.
troy davis


(R. Cook, “Davis execution scheduled; 7 witnesses have recanted,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, September 3, 2008). See also Innocence. UPDATE: Parole Board Denied Clemency on Sept. 12: Execution Scheduled for Sept. 23.
Campaign to Save Troy Davis

(updated: 9/20/08)
Latest news: Troy Davis was denied clemency on Sept. 12.

Please see information below to be informed of what you can be doing right now!!!!

Please send the new letter to the Parole Board to reconsider their position:
– take action online or print, sign and fax the model letter

Emergency Rally/March to Save Troy Davis!
– Held on Thurs., Sept. 18, 6pm. Convene: Woodruff Park (Edgewood and Peachtree St.) downtown, Atlanta
We marched down Auburn Avenue and ended at the new Ebenezer Baptist Church, where we were welcomed by the Rev., Dr. Warnock.
event flyer and event handbill

Watch the campaign video clip

Take Action!

(updated: 9/21/08)

Join the campaign to save Troy Davis!

The Parole Board denied clemency on Friday, Sept. 12. New actions have been developed to continue this struggle before the 23rd.–

In continuing the fight for Troy, here is information outling what you can do to help in the next few days!!:

Email, fax and call:

a) State Board of Pardons and Paroles:
www.amnestyusa.org/troydavis (electronic petition – easy and fast!) /
Fax: 404-651-8502
printer-ready, model letter:
http://www.gfadp.org/Portals/0/model%20letter%209-15-08%20-%20troy%
20davis.doc

b) Governor Sonny Perdue:
http://gov.georgia.gov/00/gov/contact_us/0,2657,78006749_94820188,00.html

Ask him to urge the Parole Board members, who are governor-appointed,
to grant clemency. Govenor Perdue does not have clemency power directly, but

he has influence and should be concerned with the loss of public confidence in Georgia’s legal system and the damage being done to our reputation.

c) Attorney General Thurbert Baker:
Ask him to open an investigation into the evidence of Troy’s
innocence and ask him to urge the Parole Board to grant clemency
Phone: (404) 656-3300 / Fax: (404) 657-8733


THIS WEEKEND:
Ask your community of faith to pray for justice and sign the
petition/letter (please fax them immediately to 404-651-8502)

MONDAY:
11am, Capitol steps (facing Washington St.) – press conference asking for those involved in implementing executions not to participate. Press release.

TUESDAY:
A) We are praying for an intervention. If we have an intervention, there will be a Celebration on the front steps of the Capitol at 6:30pm.

B) In the event that there is no intervention, please plan on joining one of the vigils scheduled throughout the state of Georgia. The September 23 vigil schedule:

Jackson Georgia’s Death Row, 6:30pm
Contact: Laura Moye, 404-876-5661×12, lmoye@aiusa. org

(Expect high security. Do not bring anything else besides a sign. Canine units will be used to sniff you car, once you exit it. You will be asked to park in the “against” area. Please remain there. We will stand with signs and candles. NEW: Dept. of Corrections – Rules for gatherings.)

*Bring an ID*
Directions:
On I-75, take exit 201 and turn east off of the exit ramp (left if you’re heading south)

(it is about 40 miles south of atlanta – give yourself extra time given rush hour)



Atlanta State Capitol on the Washington St. side, 6:30pm
Contact: Laura Moye, 404-876-5661×12,
lmoye@aiusa. org
(This will be a PROTEST. Come with signs.)

Americus Across from US Post Office, Prince St./Forsyth St., 6-
7pm Contact: Elizabeth Dede 229-591-0114

Athens UGA Arch on E. Broad St., 6:30pm
(not yet confirmed)

Augusta City County Building, 530 Greene St., 6:30pm
Contact: Pat Seaborn, 706-860-2721

Clarkesville Clarkesville Courthouse, 6:30pm
Contact: Anne Hall 706-754-2508

Macon City Hall, 6:30pm
(not yet confirmed)

Marietta Cobb County Courthouse, Cherokee St./Roswell St., 6:30pm
Contact: Brian and Debbie Freel, 404-641-7719

Savannah City Hall, Bay St./Bull St., 6:30pm

Add your name to the effort!

Sign the letter or petition to the parole board in English or print out the spanish version.

Also print out a petition and get friends, colleagues and your community involved and send it to Amnesty International’s Office in Atlanta.

Ask your friends to sign the petition – either on paper or electronically

NEW: Send a text message from your cell phone to 90999 (“9-0-triple 9”), type in the word “TROY” and send.

(This will send a petition on your behalf and then send you a text message to your phone that you can forward to everyone in your address book!)

Another petition has been created, that you should also sign: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/innocencematters/

Reach out to groups, organizations and congregations
We have fact sheets for you to distribute in both English and Spanish so that you can distribute to help raise awareness of the Troy Davis case.
Does their organization have a newsletter, list-serv, educational forum or time for a speaker or briefing on the case? We can provide a speaker, fact sheets and petitions.
Write letters to the editor
We’d like to have a steady stream of people writing letters to the editor. If you would be willing to write one, please email Laura Kagel – laura.kagel@gmail.com – who will be keeping track of our grassroots media outreach. It’s ok if you’ve never written one before – we can provide guidance/models!
Solidarity Actions for those outside Atlanta
Ideas for action

Contact us for more information

It’s best to bring as little as possible. Signs are OK.

Background

(Updated 9/13/2008)

Latest: Execution Date Scheduled; Clemency Denied

The Superior Court of Chatham County issued an execution warrant on Sept. 3, 2008. The Department of Corrections then scheduled the execution date for Sept. 23 at 7pm.
The State Board of Pardons and Paroles held a clemency hearing on Sept. 12. Shortly after the end of the hearing, just before 5pm on the 12th, they denied clemency. This decision was stunning, baffling and disappointing in light of the overwhelming doubts in Davis’s case that have surfaced since his conviction in 1991.

Davis has filed an appeal before the US Supreme Court (filed in July). The court is in recess, but will reconvene on Sept. 29. Shockingly, the Superior Court of Chatham County did not wait for the US Supreme Court to say whether it would take Davis’s final appeal! This appeal (petition of certiori) was to the denial of Davis’s extraordinary motion for a new trial last year, filed with Chatham County and unsuccessfully appealed to the Georgia Supreme Court this past March.

We are bewildered by the Parole Board’s decision as they had stated last year that innocence does matter and had initially demonstrated concern about the new evidence. The appeal courts have so far been incredibly dismissive of the new evidence. They have ruled that procedure and finality are more important than the protection of the innocent (e.g. Herrera v. Collins – US Supreme Court).

In Georgia, the Parole Board has executive clemency power, not the governor. They are the body that can stop the scheduled execution. They have the unfettered ability to step un at any point now up to the scheduled execution time. They can still step in even after their decision on Friday to deny clemency – a hearing is not necessarily needed.

Case Background:

Troy Davis was sent to Georgia’s death row in 1991 for the murder of Mark Allen MacPhail, a white police officer in Savannah, Georgia in 1989.

The conviction was not based on any physical evidence
The murder weapon was never found. The prosecution relied on witness testimony.

7 out of 9 witnesses have recanted or contradicted their story
Many alleged coercion by the police.

Excerpts from their affidavits:

“[The police] were telling me that I was an accessory to murder and that I would … go to jail for a long time and I would be lucky if I ever got out, especially because a police officer got killed…I was only sixteen and was so scared of going to jail.”

“After the officers talkedto me,they gave me a statement and told me to sign it. I signed it. I did not read it because I cannot read … I was totally unsure whether he was the person who shot the officer. I felt pressured to point at him … I have no idea what the person who shot the officer looks like.”

“The police came and talked to me and put a lot of pressure on me…. They wanted me to tell them that Troy confessed to me about killing that officer. The thing is, Troy never told me anything about it. I got tired of them harassing me …. I told them that Troy did it, but it wasn’t true.”

“[T]here was and is no doubt in my mind that the person who shot the officer had the gun in and was shooting with his left hand.” Davis is right-handed.

One of the witnesses may be the actual murderer!
1 of the 2 witnesses who has not recanted has been implicated by 9 people as the murderer.

Several factors have made it tough to appeal with the new evidence
Severe cuts to Georgia’s legal defense resources meant that two lawyers represented close to 160 people on death row, including Davis, when he needed critical work done for his appeals. Also, in 1996, Congress passed the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, which increased restrictions on appeals. No court would hear the new evidence – the witness recantations. Davis was turned down throughout his appeals, including at the US Supreme Court.

Davis came within 23 hours of execution in July, 2007. Then , the Georgia Supreme Court said it would consider his “extraordinary motion for a new trial” appeal in August, 2007 and held a hearing in November. On March 17, 2008, the court rejected his appeal on “overly rigid” (dissenting Judge Sears) technicalities setting an impossibly high bar for the recantations to be considered. Troy needs your help! Please take action – sign a petition, educate your friends and contacts.

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Published in: on September 22, 2008 at 7:44 pm  Comments (1)  

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