September 22, 2008
Georgia appears poised to execute Troy Davis despite innocence concerns
As detailed in this AP story and this local piece from the Atlanta Journal Constitution, it appears that the state of Georgia is prepare to execute Troy Davis tomorrow despite concerns about his possible innocence. I have not follow this case too closely, but the AJC account provides the basics:
Troy Anthony Davis now sits where he was little more than a year ago, hours away from being put to death by lethal injection.
In July 2007, the state Board of Pardons and Paroles stepped in and stayed Davis’ execution less than 24 hours before it was to be carried out. But on Monday, the board rejected pleas to reconsider its recent decision to deny clemency on grounds there is too much doubt as to whether Davis shot and killed a Savannah police officer.
Davis’ last hope to avoid his 7 p.m. Tuesday execution now appears to rest with the U.S. Supreme Court, where his lawyers have also asked for a stay of execution. Davis, 39, sits on death row for the Aug. 19, 1989, murder of Officer Mark Allen MacPhail. But since Davis’ 1991 trial, seven key prosecution witnesses have recanted their testimony.
His claims of innocence has drawn international attention, with Pope Benedict XVI and former President Jimmy Carter asking for Davis’ death sentence to be commuted to life in prison without parole.
UPDATE: Late last night I received this simple and poignant e-mail message from a stranger: "Please try to stop this execution. This man is probably innocent." In light of some of the comments below, I wonder if similar e-mails are being sent to President George Bush or to the four prominent persons who are now criss-crossing the country while running for national office.
September 22, 2008 at 08:58 PM | Permalink
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Tracked on Sep 23, 2008 8:23:02 AM
» Will the Execution Proceed Anyway? (Update: Stay Granted!) from Simple Justice
From Doug Berman at Sentencing Law [Read More]
Tracked on Sep 23, 2008 7:50:19 PM
Tracked on Sep 22, 2009 1:58:05 AM
And nary a word from Barack Obama--funny, the guy who euphemized the crimes of the Jena Six cannot say a word when the "just-us" system is going to execute an African-American in the South with assertions of innocence. Such is the price to pay when you have an opportunistic coward as your standard-bearer.
Posted by: | Sep 22, 2008 10:28:14 PM
I didn't realize trolls were republican.
Posted by: babalu | Sep 23, 2008 12:39:04 AM
I don't see how that's a "troll" comment, Babalu. Obama's stance on criminal justice issues is fair game here. Was the post inflammatory? Yes. But so what? Pointing out that Mr. ChangeHope is MIA when he was quite vocal about the Jena Six and the "just-us" system is appropriate, n'est-ce pas?
Posted by: | Sep 23, 2008 6:43:12 AM
"Opportunistic coward"...those are strong words from someone who posts anonymously!
Where is the call for McCain to make a statement about this alleged misjustice?
As a black man who believes in the death penalty, there are several things that come to question that haven't been answered by any postings or articles that I have read. Was the jury all white? (If not, to call this another southern mis-justice would be premature).
The clemency panel took one year to look at the case. I would assume that they are closer to the evidence then the Pope and Jimmy Carter, both of whom are against ANY death penalty sentence. Maybe Obama and his people are being prudent on this because they have looked at all the facts and have no reason to not believe the word of the clemency board.
Blacks are not monlithic in any way, so to say that just because a black man is being put to death, another black man HAS to have moral outrage is borderline racist!
Posted by: Kelly | Sep 23, 2008 6:56:56 AM
Why would I call for McCain to make a statement? He said nothing about Jena. My dig at Obama was not because he is black and is silent about Davis. My dig at Obama is to point out that he opened his yap about Jena and spun the issue furiously as a black-white issue and acted as if those thugs were somehow victims and then to juxtapose his silence in the Troy Davis case. If Obama didn't have a presidential candidacy, then you can bet your bottom dollar that he would be deeply opposed to the execution here. Moreoever, Obama, with his "just-us" comment at the Howard University Dem debate, clearly looks at criminal justice through racial goggles. It is unimaginable that he would not do so in this case.
I don't see how my post is at all racist. However, Kelly, your reference to an "all white" jury is pretty close. What, all white juries cannot be fair?
Posted by: | Sep 23, 2008 7:16:05 AM
Why would someone send our hose or a president an email to stop an execution? First of all, it is doubtful that he could do anything, unless he was already his lawyer. Secondly, it is rude to send unsolicited emails to the president. They are not looked at by the president. Maybe if this person had taken the time to develop a good working relationship with the president it would matter. But he did not.
This first comment seems to be from a non-lawyer that follows the presidential campaign. Non-lawyers are the problem. But, assuming that their views matter, it is unclear why a presidential candidate should take a position on a question of whether a state should kill someone or not. But again: non-lawyers do not count. Everyone laughs at them.
But, let's say Obama is elected. What could he do then. Specifics, please?
Posted by: S.cotus | Sep 23, 2008 8:47:54 AM
Kelly -- news articles describe Davis' jury as "mostly white" - but I have not seen a breakdown of the numbers.
Posted by: NewFedClerk | Sep 23, 2008 9:01:47 AM
Where is the stay from the court?
Posted by: Stanley Feldman | Sep 23, 2008 10:53:32 AM
I don't see how that's a "troll" comment, Babalu... I don't see how my post is at all racist.
I'm certain you don't. But that's the problem, isn't it?
Posted by: babalu | Sep 23, 2008 12:10:31 PM
Is anyone credible opposing the execution?
The Catholic Church opposes capital punishment, so it stands to reason that the pope would ask for the sentence to be commuted. Same for the Death Penalty Information Center, and Amnesty International. Al Sharpton's never met a black defendant he thought was guilty and seems to be following his usual m.o.
The linked articles are useless. The second one doesn't say what the "innocence concerns are," and the first one reports without elaboration that seven of nine eyewitnesses have "recanted."
Posted by: | Sep 23, 2008 12:58:18 PM
There are credible people opposing the execution. Although the linked articles may not have fully explained the circumstances, I'm sure you can find additional details elsewhere, or read the Georgia Supreme Court's (4-3) dissenting opinion in the case
Posted by: | Sep 23, 2008 1:43:59 PM
Thanks. If anyone else is interested, the 4-3 opinion is here: https://www.gasupreme.us/pdf/s07a1758.pdf
Apparently the court also voted 6-1 yesterday to deny his motion for a stay of execution. https://www.gasupreme.us/press_releases/davis_press.pdf
If the Supreme Court doesn't stop the execution, it'll happen in about 5 hours.
Posted by: | Sep 23, 2008 2:17:39 PM
Yesterdays 6-1 vote was no indication of what the GA supremem court justices felt about the case. They simplay said that the US Supreme Court now has the jurisdication to order a stay. The 6-1 vote can appeat to be misleading.
Posted by: Nick | Sep 23, 2008 5:26:46 PM
Of course the SCOTUS stay was issued. Was there ever any doubt?
I doubted some unelected killer on the a government salary would get to do any killing tonight.
Why can't states just hold elections for "executioners." That would actually be a democratic choice. All we have now is just unaccountable government bureaucrats killing people we don't like, while government lawyers are forced to defend this practice.
Posted by: s.cotus | Sep 23, 2008 5:47:29 PM
Here is a quick summary of the innocence claim
a) the main evidence against Mr. Davis comes from 1 witness
and b) there is substantial evidence that the witness is the real murderer including that he has been running around bragging about killing a cop and getting away with it by blaming someone else
Could there be anything which, if true, would be more damaging to the criminal justice system than to have an innocent person executed due to the testimony of a guilty one? Not sure why a state would want to take that risk without even looking at the evidence.
Posted by: Zack | Sep 23, 2008 6:02:16 PM
Zack, the state has looked at this evidence. It did not come to your conclusion. Get that part right.
Posted by: | Sep 23, 2008 6:18:56 PM
The 6:18 poster is wrong. The state has not looked at the evidence (other than in the initial trial, when the evidence was not brought to light). The whole point of the GA Supreme Court decision is that the state doesn't have to look at the evidence. There's a reason this case has sparked so much attention. I'm not a death penalty opponent, but having read about the case extensively over the past few weeks, I'm very concerned about this execution.
Posted by: d | Sep 23, 2008 6:45:04 PM
And to clarify the post I just made, I'm really referring to the courts not looking at the evidence. I guess the 6:18 poster is technically correct that the state disagrees, but it's not unheard of for prosecutors to bury their heads in the sand seeking to uphold a jury verdict that turns out to be wrong.
Posted by: d | Sep 23, 2008 6:49:27 PM
The stay was granted. He is fortunate - it does not always happen this way. Frequently process is king and results are quite secondary.
Posted by: beth curtis | Sep 23, 2008 7:28:02 PM
"Why would someone send our hose or a president an email to stop an execution? First of all, it is doubtful that he could do anything, unless he was already his lawyer. Secondly, it is rude to send unsolicited emails to the president. They are not looked at by the president. Maybe if this person had taken the time to develop a good working relationship with the president it would matter. But he did not."
The freedom to attempt to contact the president is called "democracy," and I enjoy it. Given that the president's being employed by the people, the president certainly should be looking at or at least considering emails from his/her boss.
"This first comment seems to be from a non-lawyer that follows the presidential campaign. Non-lawyers are the problem. But, assuming that their views matter, it is unclear why a presidential candidate should take a position on a question of whether a state should kill someone or not. But again: non-lawyers do not count. Everyone laughs at them."
I am a non-lawyer; I have experience with false convictions in my past; I count. Laugh if you will, but I count. I will keep breathing and speaking on this earth about the danger and blight of false convictions whether or not you think that is logical, advisory or worthy of your self-congratulary person and all the puffed-up knowledge you contain that allows you to stay one step ahead of every falsely accused person.
Posted by: solagratia | Sep 23, 2008 7:31:12 PM
D, the Ga. Board of Pardons and Paroles has extensively looked at this case (if it is to be believed), so it's sophistry to talk about prosecutors putting their heads in the sand.
Posted by: | Sep 23, 2008 7:38:50 PM
Am I the only one who noticed Zach posting to Zach and 6:18 posting to 6:18? I certainly hope not.
Not funny, troll.
Posted by: | Sep 23, 2008 7:41:16 PM
hmmm, my post didn't come out under my name but under beth curtis'. and the comment after mine took on my name.
Posted by: solagratia | Sep 23, 2008 7:44:48 PM
understanding now, the name follows
sorry for this typed-out learning experience
Posted by: | Sep 23, 2008 7:45:59 PM
Anonymous poster, after looking at the case, the witnesses recanted. have you even looked at the case or are you just making arguments based on authority instead of logic?
Posted by: | Sep 23, 2008 7:49:41 PM
Not all the witnesses have recanted, Davis never fingered the guy and his story (I went to help the guy getting pistol whipped) is bogus. And the Board has looked at the case. These are facts.
Posted by: | Sep 23, 2008 7:59:38 PM
TROY DAVIS, PLEASE REMEMBER THAT AMERICA IS NOT THE OLD SOUTH ~ AFRICA !!!
A $TATE ECONOMIC BOYCOTT OF GEORGIA INTERNATIONALLY WILL OBVIOU$LY BE THE END RE$ULT OF GEORGIA DECIDING TO MURDER A PO$$IBLE INNOCENT TROY DAVI$ WITHOUT A NEW AND FAIR TRIAL ?
US CONGRESSIONAL MEMBERS WHO ARE ALSO LAWYERS BY TRADE, CONTINUE TO DENY poorer AMERICAN'S PROPER LEGAL REPRESENTATION !!!
THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY NEEDS TO BEGIN A FORMAL INVESTIGATION INTO THESE US CONGRESSIONAL CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY, AND HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS BEING INFLICTED ON poorer AMERICAN'S LIKE MR.TROY DAVIS OF GEORGIA !!!
HAVING BEEN DENIED APPEAL LAWYERS FOR THREE YEARS ON DEATH ROW IN GEORGIA MR. TROY DAVIS IS NOW BEING EXECUTED FOR A CRIME HE MIGHT NOT HAVE EVEN BEEN INVOLVED WITH !!!
SENATOR OBAMA PLEASE LET THIS COUNTRIES VOTERS KNOW YOUR FEELINGS AND THOUGHTS ABOUT A NEEDED FUTURE REPAIR AND RENOVATION OF OUR BROKEN JUDICIAL SYSTEM THAT CONTINUES TO ALLOW THE EXECUTION'S OF EVEN POSSIBLE INNOCENT AMERICAN’S LIKE TROY DAVIS OF GEORGIA ?????
BEING THE WEALTHIEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD SENATOR OBAMA, DON'T WE NEED AS THE LEADERS OF THE FREE WORLD TO BEGIN ONCE AGAIN TO RE-INVEST THE PROPER MONIE$ IN OUR OWN US JUDICIAL SYSTEM, ASSURING ALL OF OUR CITIZENS THEIR RIGHTS TO FAIR TRIALS WITH PROPER LEGAL REPRESENTATION ???
DOES GOD NEED TO LOBBY OUR US CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS OF THE FREE WORLD ON BEHALF OF OUR poorer american’s SENATOR OBAMA,OR ARE YOU WATCHING OUT FOR THEM ??
***OUR US CONGRESS CONTINUES TO DENY MIDDLE CLASS AND WORKING POOR AMERICANS PROPER LEGAL REPRESENTATION EVEN THOUGH WRONGFUL EXECUTIONS & FALSE INCARCERATIONS CONTINUE ALL ACROSS AMERICA ???
*** 700 BILLION $$$ AVAILABLE FOR US BAILOUT, & NO $$$ FOR ALL POORER AMERICANS PROPER LEGAL REPRESENTATION ? SENATOR OBAMA, THIS JUDICIAL INJUSTICE HAS BECOME AN AMERICAN ART FORM, AND NO LONGER CAN BE KEPT HIDDEN OR SECRET FROM THE AMERICAN PEOPLE EVEN IF CERTAIN (501c3) U$ RELIGIOU$ LEADER$ HAVE BEEN $ILENCED ??
LETS ALL HOPE OUR MEDIA FRIENDS CONTINUE TO SHOW AN INTEREST IN REPORTING ON THIS AMERICAN HORROR FACING THESE (TENS OF THOUSANDS) FORGOTTEN AND TRAPPED POORER AMERICANS, AND HOW THIS PRESIDENTIAL CONTENDER HANDLES THIS VERY SERIOUS ISSUE FACING AMERICA’S LATINO AND BLACK AMERICAN COMMUNITIES ????
WITH 80% OF THE BLACK AMERICAN VOTERS SAYING THEY SUPPORT SENATOR OBAMA IN THIS PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, IT IS ONLY FAIR FOR EVERYONE TO KNOW PRIOR BEING ELECTED OUR NEXT PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES HOW THIS DEMOCRATIC SENATOR TRULY FEELS ABOUT THIS AMERICAN JUDICIAL INJUSTICE CONTINUING TO INFLICT GRAVE HARM ON THE BLACK & LATINO AMERICAN FAMILIES AND THEIR COMMUNITIES NATIONWIDE ??????
*** WHEN GOD’S FACE BECAME VERY RED *** THE US SUPREME COURT GAVE ENEMY COMBATANTS FEDERAL APPEAL HC RIGHTS LAWYERS AND PROPER ACCESS TO US FEDERAL COURTS,AND POORER AMERICANS (MANY EVEN ON DEATH ROW) ARE DENIED PROPER FEDERAL APPEAL LEGAL REPRESENTATION TO OUR US FEDERAL COURTS OF APPEAL, AND ROTTING IN AMERICAN PRISONS NATIONWIDE ?????????
**** INNOCENT AMERICANS ARE DENIED REAL HC RIGHTS WITH THEIR FEDERAL APPEALS ! THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE $LOWLY FINDING OUT HOW EA$Y IT I$ FOR MIDDLE CLA$$ AND WORKING POOR AMERICAN$ TO FALL VICTIM TO OUR U$ MONETARY JUDICIAL $Y$TEM.
****WHEN THE US INNOCENT WERE ABANDONED BY THE GUILTY **** The prison experts have reported that there are 100,000 innocent Americans currently being falsely imprisoned along with the 2,300,000 total US prison population nationwide.
***WHERE ARE AMERICA'S RELIGIOUS LEADERS ??????? Since our US Congress has never afforded poor prison inmates federal appeal legal counsel for their federal retrials,they have effectively closed the doors on these tens of thousands of innocent citizens ever being capable of possibly exonerating themselves to regain their freedom through being granted new retrials.
This same exact unjust situation was happening in our Southern States when poor and mostly uneducated Black Americans were being falsely imprisoned for endless decades without the needed educational skills to properly submit their own written federal trial appeals.
This devious and deceptive judicial process of making our poor and innocent prison inmates formulate and write their own federal appeal legal cases for possible retrials on their state criminal cases,is still in effect today even though everyone in our US judicial system knows that without proper legal representation, these tens of thousands of innocent prison inmates will be denied their rightful opportunities of ever being granted new trials from our federal appeal judges!!
Sadly, the true US *legal* Federal Appeal situation that occurs when any of our uneducated American prison inmates are forced to attempt to submit their own written Federal Appeals (from our prisons nationwide) without the assistance of proper legal counsel, is that they all are in reality being denied their legitimate rights for Habeas Corpus with our US FEDERAL COURTS and will win any future Supreme Court Case concerning this injustice!
For our judicial system and our US Congressional Leaders Of The Free World to continue to pretend that this is a real and fair opportunity for our American Middle Class and Working Poor Citizens, only delays the very needed future change of Federal Financing of all these Federal appeals becoming a normal formula of Our American judicial system.
It was not so very long ago that Public Defenders became a Reality in this country.Prior that legal reality taking place, their were also some who thought giving anyone charged with a crime a free lawyer was a waste of taxpayers $$.
This FACADE and HORROR of our Federal Appeal proce$$ is not worthy of the Greatest Country In The World! ***GREAT SOCIETIES THAT DO NOT PROTECT EVEN THEIR INNOCENT, BECOME THE GUILTY !
A MUST READ ABOUT AMERICAN INJUSTICE:
1) YAHOO 2) GOOGLE
(MANNY GONZALES THE KID THAT EVERYONE FORGOT IN THE CA PRISON SYSTEM.)
** A JUDICIAL RIDE OF ONES LIFE !
***Someone please tell our US Congress that the GED degree that Manny Gonzales acquired in prison is not a LAW DEGREE !!!!!!
Posted by: DOUGLAS FIELD | Nov 1, 2008 11:19:34 PM
AND GEORGIA WANTS TO EXECUTE TROY DAVIS ???
MOST ALL AMERICAN'S KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A STATE MURDER IN GEORGIA, AND A JUDICIAL EXECUTION IN GEORGIA !!!
WILL MILLIONS OF CARING AMERICAN'S AND INTERNATIONAL CITIZENS AVOID GIVING THE STATE OF GEORGIA ANY FUTURE BUSINE$$ IF A 3YR. BOYCOTT TAKES PLACE OVER THIS STATE NOT EVEN OFFERING JUSTICE WITH A NEW LEGITIMATE CRIMINAL TRIAL FOR MR.TROY DAVIS? IT'S BEEN SAID BY MANY THAT A THREE YEAR INTERNATIONAL BOYCOTT OF THIS STATE MIGHT VERY WELL COST IT TENS OF MILLION$ WHERE A NEW AND FAIR TRIAL OF TROY DAVIS MIGHT COST THE STATE ONLY $100,000.
**** A SPECIAL FEDERAL TASK FORCE MADE UP OF INVESTIGATORS AND LAWYERS DESIGNED TO VERIFY EVERY ASPECT OF THE 3,300 VARIOUS DEATH ROW LEGAL CASES NATIONWIDE,IS OUR COUNTRIES ONLY REAL METHOD TO MAKE SURE WE DO NOT ALLOW STATES LIKE GEORGIA TO CONTINUE ATTEMPTING TO MURDER POSSIBLE INNOCENT POORER AMERICAN'S LIKE MR.TROY DAVIS!
*** FOR THOSE MILLIONS OF AMERICAN'S WHO BELIEVE IN GOD, WE ALL HAVE TO WONDER IN TOTAL AMAZEMENT, HOW OUR AMERICAN RELIGIOUS LEADERS HAVE ALLOWED THIS HORROR TO CONTINUE WRONGFULLY EXECUTING AND INCARCERATING INNOCENT AMERICAN'S ALL ACROSS OUR COUNTRY ???
AMERICA'S GREAT LIE
by Gerry Spence
The idea that we should furnish the poor with a public defender has been an effort to save our nation from shame – for sending the poor to prison without adequate representation. But today the nation’s public defender system has become a mockery of justice.
To provide an accused with a public defender who has three hundred other cases to defend is simply to laugh in the face of both justice and the accused himself. It takes me months to prepare the average criminal case for trial. The trial itself can take weeks, even months.
While O.J. Simpson was being tried in Los Angeles for murder, a case that cost millions to defend and months to conclude, another black man was being tried in the same courthouse for a similar murder. It took only three days for a jury to find him guilty. He had a public defender with scores of other cases to defend. Many prosecutors boast that they have over a 90 percent conviction rate. Little wonder. Under the present public defender system the prosecutors should enjoy one hundred percent convictions, and many in fact approach perfect conviction rates.
The public defenders in seven states have finally refused to take on any new cases. It’s about time. If I walked into court to defend my client and had never talked him, never previously opened his file, never discovered the witnesses against him, much less interviewed them, never reviewed the evidence in the hands of the prosecution, never demanded my clients rights to discovery, never read the cases relevant to the case at hand, never prepared the cross examination of the witnesses against my client, never …and on and on, I would be guilty of legal malpractice.
Every public defender who purports to represent an accused under circumstances in which he or she has neither the time nor the resources to fully defend the client is guilty of malpractice. These public defenders cannot be saved from malpractice because they are crushed under a ridiculous case load – some with even as many as five hundred cases or more. No one who was accused with such an attorney has received a fair trial and every such accused is entitled to an appeal on that basis alone. The judge must not sentence the accused under these circumstances because the judge would be taking part in a fraud on the system. Yet hundreds of thousands of indigent persons go to prison each year under circumstances no better than those outlined above.
When I was coming up as a young prosecutor, the defendants were represented pro bono by the lawyers in the local bar. It was part of the duty of members of the bar to take part in the justice system. Today that idea is unheard of. The practice of law is first and foremost a money-making profession. I see nothing wrong with that notion, but what about giving back?
Every trial lawyer should be required to take on a couple of pro bono cases every year. At our office we have a separate pro bono law firm and have for over ten years. It often brings us more satisfaction than our big money wins. The job of a lawyer is to represent the people – the lost, the forgotten, the damned, the hated, the voiceless and the poor. Indeed, God forbid, we may one day become one of those who are entitled to representation but cannot afford it.
Every time an accused goes to prison without having received a fair trial we are one step closer to the loss of our own freedoms. Our rights are, in fact, being fought for by public defenders who can never fulfill their duty to their clients because of their pathetic, impossible, caseloads. When they fail, we are in danger. Our system becomes a hypocritical charade. And we prove, once and for all, that the promised justice for all in America is an evil lie that is imposed on the poor.
If only those with money can receive justice, then how can we permit our children to recite a horrible falsehood in school when they chant, “with liberty and justice for all.” That can no longer be the truth in America.
GERRY SPENCE IS A RENOWNED LAWYER AND PATRIOTIC AMERICAN WHO EVEN AT THE AGE OF 82, CONTINUES TO SHOW A KEEN INTEREST IN WANTING TO BETTER AMERICA FOR THE MASSES OF POORER AMERICANS BEING CAUGHT IN OUR UNDERFUNDED JUDICIAL SYSTEM.
LAWYERS FOR POOR AMERICANS THANKS YOU MR.SPENCE FOR TAKING YOUR TIME AND INTEREST IN SPEAKING THE TRUTH ABOUT A JUDICIAL SYSTEM IN NEED OF C*H*A*N*G*E...
** WE CAN ONLY HOPE AND PRAY OTHER AMERICAN LAWYERS AND JUDGES WILL FOLLOW YOUR LEAD SO THE PROPER FINANCING CAN BE ALLOCATED BY OUR IVORY TOWER US CONGRESS !
*** ANYONE INTERESTED CAN GOOGLE OR YAHOO GERRY SPENCE ON THE WWW FOR MANY OTHER ENLIGHTENING HONEST ARTICLES.
Posted by: DOUGLAS FIELD | Nov 23, 2008 11:06:59 PM