Friday, 22 May 2009

World Wide Protest for Death Row Inmate Troy Davis

Thousands of people in 43 U.S. states and five continents participated in Amnesty International's "Global Day of Action," where people from all over the world protested the death sentence of Georgia man Troy Davis. The activists rallied in efforts to bring awareness and also pressure the state to overturn its decision.

Davis and his attorneys made a last ditch effort to appeal his case in the U.S. Supreme Court on May 19. He was convicted of killing a Savannah police officer 20 years ago, however new evidence has surfaced which could potentially prove Davis' innocence, reports the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

“Davis’ new evidence eviscerates the state’s case against him,” the filing said. “Despite substantial new evidence of his innocence, no court has ever held a hearing to assess the scores of new witnesses that show Mr. Davis is innocent.”

The appeal states that fulfilling the execution would be less than constitutional without a “full and fair hearing in which he could make a truly persuasive demonstration that he is actually innocent.”

A 40-year-old Davis has been situated in death row for the killing of off-duty Officer Mark Allen MacPhail. The former Army ranger was gunned down in a Burger King parking lot while was rushing to the aid of a man being pistol whipped.

Davis' case has attracted the support of Amnesty International's Jared Feuer, former president and Georgia native Jimmy Carter, Republican Congressman Bob Barr and the Pope, reports

"This case brings front and center all the problems with our criminal justice system," Feuer said. "We’ve been astonished by how focused the courts are on finality and not on getting it right."

Feuer said he was especially drawn to this case six years ago primarily because of the
overwhelming lack of physical evidence. He added that the murder weapon was never recovered
and the case was judged on inconsistent eyewitness testimonies alone.

Since Davis’ 1991 trial, seven of nine witnesses have withdrawn their testimony and some have even gone as far to name another man - Sylvester “Redd” Coles - as the shooter. Coles was at the scene at the scene of the crime and the first person to accuse Davis in the killing.

“With Troy’s case you have three execution dates that have come and gone,” Feuer said. “That’s unusual. There have been three stays. The public attention and pressure on this case is making a difference. There have been more than half a million petitions and letters from all around the world.”

One of Davis' lawyers, Jason Ewart, said the high court is his client's last resort to prove his innocence. “This is the last court that we can go to,” Ewart said. “It’s something that’s not often granted, but we think this is an exceptional case.”

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