I Am Troy Davis

Update 9/21/2011 11:08 PM EST RIP Troy Davis. In his final statement, he stated he was sorry for McPhail family loss, but that he did not do it. He encouraged the family to dig deeper and find out who actually did it. Unfortunately, case closed - nothing more will be done. They say they got their man. This is one sad day in the history of this country. This is not how this article was supposed to end.

Update 9/21/2011 10:21 PM EST Supreme Court has refused to stay the execution of Troy Davis.

I am Troy Davis. You are Troy Davis. Someone you know is Troy Davis.

RIP Troy Davis - Executed 9/21/2011

In the event you’re not aware who Troy Davis is, I willbriefly share that he is a man who has just received a reprieve from executionin Georgia. How long that is for is unknown at this point, but it is not a stay.It can mean only a matter of hours or days.  Troy is an African-American man, accused andconvicted of killing a white police officer, and without any physical evidence. 

An email form which appeared on DeathPenalty Focus provides a summary:

To the Board ofPardons and Paroles and District Attorney Larry Chisolm:

I am writing you todayto ask you to reconsider the decision to deny clemency for Troy Davis. There isa severe lack of physical evidence. Seven of nine witnesses have recanted orchanged their testimony. Multiple jurors who originally voted in favor of thedeath penalty have asked that Troy not be executed.

The execution of a mandespite serious doubts about his guilt undermines the credibility of theGeorgia justice system, and is a risk that should not be tolerated.

Please do the rightthing and stop the execution of Troy Davis.

Larry Chisolm, the District Attorney, washed his own handsby simply stating, "We appreciate the outpouring of interest in this case;however, this matter is beyond our control."

"He has had ample time to prove his innocence,"said MacPhail's widow, Joan MacPhail-Harris. "And he is notinnocent." This struck me as absolutely contrary to our judicial system –the fact that one had to prove innocence, rather than being presumed innocent.

AmnestyInternational offers further insight:

The high court set atough standard for Davis to exonerate himself, ruling that his attorneys must"clearly establish" Davis' innocence — a higher bar to meet thanprosecutors having to prove guilt.

The case against himconsisted entirely of witness testimony which contained inconsistencies even atthe time of the trial. Since then, all but two of the state'snon-police witnesses from the trial have recanted or contradicted theirtestimony.

Many of thesewitnesses have stated in swornaffidavits that they were pressured or coerced by police intotestifying or signing statements against Troy Davis.

One of the twowitnesses who has not recanted his testimony is Sylvester "Red" Coles— the principle alternative suspect, according to the defense, against whomthere is new evidence implicating him as the gunman. Nine individualshave signed affidavits implicating Sylvester Coles.

For me, I was riveted to the Twitter feed, as that seemed tobe the best source for live coverage. I then discovered Democracy Now! as a result of readingeverything I could, and Amy Goodman tirelessly provided the only live feed thatI could find.

CNN seemed to be a bit slow with their updates (at leastcompared to Twitter), and Fox News correspondent John Roberts reportedly claimedto be “inside,” awaiting the death announcement, and then apparently reportedthe execution at 7:11 EST. White Supremacist James Byrd was executed in Texasat 7:21, so maybe he just got confused?

Regardless of your position on the Death Penalty, all wouldagree that no innocent person should ever be executed. If there is even a slimchance that an error has taken place with the prosecution and conviction ofTroy Davis, it must be explored.

In any event, this story does not end here. ApparentlyJustice Clarence Thomas will determine the next move, but one thing is certain-- there is no room for this type of injustice in America. Many will now knowwho Troy Davis is, and perhaps more importantly, that something needs to be donewith the judicial system in Georgia.

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