Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Case of Troy Anthony Davis

We must confront the unalterable fact that the system of capital punishment is fallible, given that it is administered by fallible human beings. I respectfully urge the Board of Pardons and Paroles to demonstrate your strong commitment to fairness and justice and commute the death sentence of Troy Anthony Davis.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu

My friend Gary has been working to call attention to the case of Troy Davis, who came within 90 minutes of being executed on the 23rd of September 2008. A jury convicted Davis of shooting and killing police officer Mark Allen McPhail with a .38 caliber gun.

The case against him rested almost entirely on informant and eyewitness testimony with no physical evidence. No weapon was found to connect to the crime. Now, all but three eyewitnesses have recanted or changed their testimony. Some of those who have recanted claim that they were coerced and intimidated to give the testimony they did. Sylvester "Red" Coles admitted to having a .38 caliber handgun in his possession just a half hour before the shooting of a police officer, but he claims to have lost the gun. Coles is one of the three eyewitnesses not to recant.

The US Supreme Court declined to hear the case and Davis again faced execution on October 27, 2008. On the 24th the execution was temporarily stayed by the federal appeals court in Atlanta.

I've been hearing and reading about this case for a few months, and I wasn't sure what to think about it. I've decided that's all I need to take my stance. Amnesty International provides enough information on this page to give me important doubts.

Visit this page for more information and to see a short trailer for the documentary (still in the production).

Troy's sister Martina also maintains a web page with updates and information.


Casey said...

It's pretty interesting that Tutu's claim is not specific to the case, but relies on a generality...

Nevertheless, I share his general objection, so I'm convinced.

fenhopper said...

did you read tutu's entire letter? it gets into some specifics of the case.

but there are a few strange details in it: the most obvious being a strange switch in fonts on the pdf. -- going from a standard times font then arial then back to times. that's sketchy right?

the strangest part of the arial section is how it's pretty much the same case that we see made in all the advocacy texts.

did archbishop tutu just copy from a source and paste it into a signed letter? would he do that?