29 March 2011

SCOTUS rejects Troy Davis's innocence claim (and what you can do about it)

Sad news:

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected without comment Georgia death row inmate Troy Davis's appeal to further delay his execution as he attempts to prove his innocence.

According to Lyle Denniston at SCOTUSblog, the Supremes "[rejected] five different ways that Davis's lawyers had sought to press his claim that he did not commit a 1989 murder of an off-duty policeman."

This decision gives Georgia the green light to set a new execution date for Davis.

The Supremes apparently don't believe Davis should be given more time and opportunity to prove his innocence, despite an impressive number of factors that suggest he may be innocent of the murder for which he was convicted: Davis's original trial was flawed. Most of the witnesses have since recanted or contradicted their stories, with many claiming that they had been pressured or coerced by police. And there is no physical evidence linking Davis to the crime. His conviction was based solely on that questionable testimony by witnesses.

Also disturbing is the fact that there was no noted dissent from yesterday's decision.

As I've written before, the Troy Davis case makes a good argument for repeal of the death penalty in the U.S. It illustrates how judicial discretion can block the fair and thorough review of innocence claims, thereby risking the execution of an innocent person.

That, I contend, cannot be called justice.

What you can do:

Sign Amnesty International's petition asking the Georgia authorities to take all steps necessary to ensure that Troy Anthony Davis does not face execution. There are also sign-on letters for religious leaders and legal professionals:

General petition

Religious leader sign-on letter

Legal professional sign-on letter

And stay tuned for updates.

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