All Articles Tagged "execution"
I’m sure you’ve heard the sad news already. But after a a four hour delay, Troy Davis was executed last night around 11 p.m. by lethal injection. The delay was caused by the fact that Davis filed an eleventh hour plea to the U.S. Supreme Court for a stay on the execution. The stay was denied. After hundreds of thousands of signatures to prevent the execution circled around with the help of Amensty International, Change.org, the NAACP and others, along with Davis offering to take a polygraph test to prove his innocence, justice wasn’t served, and reasonable doubt all of a sudden meant nothing.
For those looking for the President to step in, a statement was released yesterday by press secretary Jay Carney saying, “It is not appropriate for the President of the United States to weigh in on specific cases like this one, which is a state prosecution.” So it was up to the people who kept getting signatures, spreading the word through social media and protesting. Davis’ sister Kim, who created the campaign for Troy’s life on Change.org, wanted people, including supporters around the world, to know that Troy was grateful:
“When Troy saw that more than 650,000 signatures had been delivered to the board in his name, he called to tell me he was deeply moved. He told me he knew that he had supporters around the world, but he had no idea that the support was that widespread. ”
While we’re very sad that Davis had to be executed, especially with so much doubt surrounding the case, we hope that this spurs people to step up and fight and not deal with injustices like this in the future. We aren’t silly enough to believe that Davis was the only man on Death Row or in prison in general possibly wrongfully convicted. It’s better to know you tried to make your voice heard and fight, than to just shake your head when it’s all said and done. Don’t take these things lying down folks! On top of that, as many of our Facebook followers pointed out, stay doing positive things with positive people so that you don’t find yourself in a situation like this. Tell that to your children and let them know about this case so they know what the justice system is capable and incapable of. That goes out to young men, grown men, young women, grown women, children, anybody–spread the word.
There have been some really deep and thought-provoking articles about Troy Davis’ case, the issues with the death penalty and the impact of Davis’ execution all over the web. We leave you now with a few links to those. R.I.P. Troy Davis:
- “Troy Davis is Dead; The Movement Continues” – Rashad Robinson: The Huffington Post
- “A death in Georgia” – J.F.: The Economist
- “Troy Davis’ Execution: Outrage for Opponents, But Closure for Victim’s Family?” – Nathan Thornburgh: Time
- “Watching an execution: AJC reporter was inside the death chamber” – Rhonda Cook: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Troy Davis may have died amid a storm of controversy with supporters around the world asking the state of Georgia to spare an innocent man, but yesterday, a martyr was born.
According to witnesses, Davis continued to proclaim his innocence until the very end of his life. He looked in the direction of the family of Mark MacPhail, the officer he was convicted of killing, and told them they had the wrong guy and that he’d hope they would find peace by digging deeper into the case to find the right one.
What does it say about Georgia that a man, whose conviction was supported by very little evidence, could go forth with an execution although there was enough doubt to appeal the case? What does it say about a justice system that ignores outcries from the likes of Jimmy Carter, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, 51 members of Congress, and a former FBI director?
The decision to execute and to deny an appeal for Davis illustrates not only the deep-seeded racism that still plagues many Southern states but reinforces a strong doubt in Americans’ faith in the legal system – especially the faith of African-Americans who are more likely to be negatively affected by bias. The ramifications of this scenario are far and wide. Although Davis did not receive justice; it is grossly apparent that he did not die without a cause. Like he said himself in his last days, his death was for all the Troy Davises who came before and after him. Indeed, the justice system must and will change because of this fiasco. And for that, we thank Troy Davis.
As the state of Georgia prepares to execute Troy Davis for a murder conviction tonight at 7 pm, people around the world are decrying what they see as a violation of justice. Davis, whose case has hung in limbo for 20 years as the courts remained indecisive about whether to take his life, was refused a polygraph test requested in a last-ditch attempt to prove his innocence. Even though seven of the nine witnesses who testified against him have recanted their testimonies, and two jurors have changed their minds, Davis remains condemned to death. Executing a man despite persistent doubts paints a picture of America’s justice system as one that is not just at all. Folks worldwide are expressing their anger at this revelation. Here is a sample of the negative reactions our judicial process has prompted from luminaries for refusing to grant Troy clemency after a last-minute appeal — plus a statement of acceptance of his fate from Davis himself.
UPDATE: Troy Davis was executed and pronounced dead at 11:08 pm on Tuesday, September 21.
“The Struggle Doesn’t End With Me”
From The Washington Post: “Amnesty International… posted a message that Davis, 42, had asked to share on its Facebook group: ‘The struggle for justice doesn’t end with me. This struggle is for all the Troy Davises who came before me and all the ones who will come after me. I’m in good spirits and I’m prayerful and at peace. But I will not stop fighting until I’ve taken my last breath.’”
A man is set to be murdered, legally, by the State of Georgia tomorrow, September 21, at 7 p.m. That man’s name is Troy Davis, a man born in the same state as the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. only a few short months after the hatred, bigotry and injustice King spoke out against cut down our fearless leader in Memphis, TN. Davis now stands to lose his life courtesy of the same injustices King spoke about and we are all witness to this travesty.
Troy Anthony Davis stands accused of murdering a white off duty police officer in a Burger King parking lot in 1989. There is no physical evidence that links Davis to the crime. Seven of nine witnesses who testified during the original trial have recanted their story and have said that they were coerced by the police to implicate Davis in the murder. According to the Daily Mail, Davis and his lawyers argued that the racial composition of the jury and poor advocacy from his lawyers had affected his right to a fair trial.” Davis was convicted and sentenced to the death by lethal injection in August 1991.
Troy Davis has been on death row in Georgia for over 20 years after being convicted of murdering Savannah policeman Mark Allen MacPhail in 1991. During that dramatic period, the prisoner has faced a perilous series of reversals during which his date of execution was repeatedly set and repealed. Today — for the fourth time — “the parole board is scheduled to meet once again to determine whether Davis should live or die,” according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. His execution is set for Wednesday of this week, despite solid evidence that Davis is innocent. There has been an outpouring of support for his release from around the world, as details in his case emerge that cast doubt on the prosecution’s case. Here are nine things you need to know about the Troy Davis execution controversy, which might inspire you to join in his cause of just liberation.
UPDATE: Troy Davis was executed and pronounced dead at 11:08 pm on Tuesday, September 21.
Almost One Million People Believe He is Innocent
“On Thursday, Davis’ supporters gave the state Board of Pardons and Paroles the names of 663,000 people asking Davis be spared execution,” according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. In addition, AFP reports that, “Davis supporters say close to one million people worldwide have signed petitions calling for clemency[.]“
(AJC) — People gathered online and on the pavement in last-minute protests and vigils Sunday, leading up to a hearing today that could decide whether Troy Anthony Davis is executed Wednesday. The state Board of Pardons and Paroles in Atlanta is scheduled to meet to decide whether the death sentence is carried out against the Savannah man, who was convicted of the 1989 murder of an off-duty policeman, Mark Allen MacPhail. Davis’ case generated worldwide attention after most witnesses recanted or backed away from trial testimony that implicated Davis in the shooting.
The death penalty is one particular controversial issue, which has yet to seriously trouble President Obama. While most former presidents had to face this very issue due to some high-profile case, Obama has virtually escaped scrutiny for his support or opposition of the death penalty. However, this may all change as earlier this month the state of Georgia has set an execution date for Davis, a death row prisoner with a particularly strong claim that he had been wrongly convicted.
Although President Obama legally does not have the power to pardon or grant Davis clemency because the case was tried in a state court as opposed to a federal court, does it benefit him to remain silent while a possiblly innocent man, particularly an innocent man of color, is put to death on his watch?
In 1991, Davis was convicted in the 1989 shooting death of Mark Allen MacPhail, an off-duty Savannah police officer, who had been moonlighting as a security guard at a shopping center strip. Despite never having any physical evidence linking him to the killing, Davis’ case was tried and convicted entirely on witnesses and informant testimony. A few years later, an unprecedented six out of the nine witnesses recanted their original testimony in formal affidavits, saying that they had been coerced by police to say that they either saw or heard Davis say he did it.
Some of the witnesses have even implicated another man, Sylvester “Redd” Coles, who ironically had brandished a .38 in the vicinity of the shooting but was never investigated by the police. Instead Coles would become the prosecutor’s star witness in the case.
Davis’ execution has been postponed three times already to allow for further consideration of evidence and appeals have reached as far as the U.S. Supreme Court. In 2008, as a result of multiple appeals, the Georgia Supreme Court temporarily stopped Davis’ execution, and in 2009 the federal district court was ordered to take another look at the case. However an appeals court failed to grant a new trial because although the appeals judge at the time didn’t believe the state’s case against Davis was iron clad, he still didn’t believe that the witnesses’ recantations were enough to grant Davis a new trial.
The courts, which are more concerned over procedural rights than justice, haven’t deterred the thousands around the globe, who are demanding Davis receive not only a stay of execution but also a new trial. Rallies have been held and are still planned globally to demand justice for Troy Davis. Earlier this week more than 3,000 religious leaders from all 50 states had signed a letter urging the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles to examine “developments that cast serious doubt on Davis’ guilt.” High-profile activist, politicians and people of faith have used their platform to draw attention to Davis’ case, including appeals from Congressman John Lewis, Rev. Al Sharpton, Angela Davis, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Pope Benedict XVI and former President Jimmy Carter.
Organizations such as NAACP, Color of Change, Amnesty International, and International Action Center, are all collecting signatures on petitions, which will be delivered to both the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles as well as President Obama.
And what are the Obama Administration’s thoughts on the case? Well the Administration has virtually remained silent, which could have serious implications, especially within in the black community, who have disproportionately been at the mercy of the justice system at several points along the gamut.
When Obama first ran for the Illinois state Senate in 1996, he said in a campaign questionnaire that he opposed capital punishment and as a state lawmaker voted against expanding it for crimes arising from gang activity. He was also the driving force behind a 2003 capital punishment reform bill that required interrogations be videotaped in capital murder cases.
However, Obama the presidential candidate took a somewhat hardened stance on the death penalty, saying that he supported the death penalty in some “hideous” cases but also said that the system of investigating and prosecuting capital crimes was so flawed and that the nation should declare a moratorium on executions until it could be fixed. And recently, President Barack Obama has thrown his support behind an Illinois’ bill, which seeks to abolish the death penalty in that state alltogether. Needless to say, his position on the death penalty as a whole seems to favor those who are calling for a stay of execution in the Davis case. So why has he been so detached from the case?
Unfortunately for supporters of Davis, Obama is in his second bid for president, which means that any call for justice for an African American would trigger a racial backlash from some voters, particularly those of the Fox-News, fear-mongering persuasion. And given the tough and divisive first term he has had, the chances that President Obama will stick his neck out for a fellow minority is close to zero. Like it or not, this is a cold reminder of how little effect a Black man in the White House has had on ending or even addressing the very real applications of systemic racism and injustices, which is manifested on a daily basis in society at large.
On the other hand, lending his voice in the form of an appeal to Georgia’s governor as well as the board of pardons and paroles could suggest to voters, particularly his core base, that he cares about justice over popularity. And it”s not that there isn’t precedence: in 1994, Humberto Leal Garcia Jr., a Mexican national, was convicted of rape and murder and sentenced to death in Texas. While very few had ever contested his guilt in the rape/murder case, there were some, including a U.N.-backed tribunal court, who voiced concerns over the handling of his case, particularly that Leal hadn’t been told that he could have received the legal help of the Mexican Consulate.
Although Leal was tried and convicted in state court, President Obama still made a courageous yet unsuccessful appeal for Leal’s life to both Governor Perry and the Supreme Court, arguing it could do “irreparable harm” to U.S. interests abroad. This was done without consideration for political polarization, which might have arisen for speaking up on behalf of an undocumented immigrant.
And yet it is regrettable that the Obama Administration has yet to issue a statement regarding Davis, who had been loudly proclaiming his innocence since prior to the conviction. Even if he is powerless to pardon Davis or his appeals for clemency are ignored, politically speaking, it would be a mistake for President Obama to simple sit quietly on the sidelines again, much like he was on the Sean Bell and Oscar Grant incidents, while a grave injustice is scheduled to be served later this month.
Charing Ball is the author of the blog People, Places & Things.
Several prison reform advocates are determined to stop what could be the execution of an innocent man.
Troy Davis has been on death row for two decades for the 1989 murder of a Savannah, Ga police officer even though there is amble evidence that calls his guilt into question. Nevertheless, Davis has been given three execution dates since 2007, all of which were delayed within hours or days.
But on March 28th, the U.S. Supreme Court denied Davis’ final appeal. He now awaits his fourth execution date, which the state of Georgia could set as early as next month.
There is no physical evidence that links Davis to the crime, and since his conviction, seven out of nine witnesses have recanted their testimonies, many of them claiming that their affidavits were coerced or made under intense pressure by police, reports Colorlines. In addition, several new witnesses have emerged identifying another man as the offender.
“If presumption of innocence means anything in our justice system, we cannot execute a man with such an overwhelming body of evidence pointing to his innocence,” Benjamin Todd Jealous, president of the NAACP, wrote in an op-ed.
The NAACP, Color of Change and Amnesty International, as well as other organizations, have been working to rally support for Davis. The groups have been circulating petitions to urge the Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole to grant Davis clemency and stop the execution. The case has received international attention and several prominent figures, including Pope Benedict XVI, former President Jimmy Carter, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former FBI director William Sessions, have all made statements on Davis’ behalf.