Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Troy Davis finally gets a break, albeit a short one.
One day before he was to die by lethal injection, convicted cop killer Troy Davis received a 90-day stay of execution Monday from a Georgia clemency board, allowing him time to press his case that he has been the victim of mistaken identity.
I do not assume to know the truth in this case, but the more I have read, the more doubt emerges. My support of the death penalty ends at the point where the possibility of executing an innocent begins (which clearly excludes the likes of Alfonso Rodriguez Jr. and the Oklahoma Bomber). The Davis case has evolved so much over the years, that doubt not only lingers, but seems to be slapping justice upside the head!
The prosecution's case against Davis, 38, has crumbled in the 16 years since he was sentenced to death for shooting a police officer working a security detail in Savannah. Most of the key witnesses in Davis's trial have recanted their testimony, and some have said they lied under police pressure.

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Since the trial, however, three of four witnesses who testified that Davis shot the officer have signed statements contradicting their identification of the gunman. Two other witnesses who told police that Davis had confessed to the shooting have said they made it up. Other witnesses say it was another man at the Burger King that night.
Even Rep. John Lewis was concerned about how justice could be defined if the execution continued:
If executing Troy Davis on the evidence we now have is the best our justice system can do, then that system is not worthy of the word justice. People of good faith can and do disagree about the death penalty. But all of us must certainly agree that before we carry out the ultimate penalty, we must be sure. The only thing I am sure of is that nobody can even come close to being sure that Troy Davis committed this crime. I am, frankly, shocked to think that we could execute anyone under these circumstances. And I ask you not to let that happen.
and he does not forget the life that was lost that day, Officer Mark McPhail,
Before I sit down, let me say a few words about a man who cannot be here today. I speak, of course, of the victim of this terrible crime, Officer Mark MacPhail. And I hope you will think of him too as you make your decision. Officer MacPhail's death was a senseless tragedy, and I am sure his loved ones still feel the pain of his loss. I pray for them and for Officer MacPhail today. And I ask you to do the same. For it is a terrible thing to be a victim of a violent crime.
The defense team now has 90 days to present their case to the parole board. Their best bet is a commutation at this stage. Ideally, a new trial, vindication for Davis, and a conviction of the real killer. But that is for our justice system to decide.


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