Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Innocence Matters: Atlanta Rally for Troy Davis

Last Saturday, Amnesty International and the Georgia State Conference of the NAACP held a rally on the steps of the Georgia state capitol for Troy Anthony Davis.

Troy was convicted of murdering police officer Mark Allen MacPhail in Savannah in 1989 and has lived on Georgia's Death Row since then. Evidence in the case was scarce, and seven out of nine original witnesses have either recanted their statements. Amnesty International has put out an excellent report that covers these issues deeply: Where is the Justice for Me?

Earlier this year, the Georgia Supreme Court voted 4-3 to deny Davis's appeal for a new trial. Last summer, Troy came within 24 hours of death when the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles granted a stay of execution. I remember that day with horror; there is nothing more chilling to me than a system that allows the state to come so close to taking a person's life with so many doubts left hanging in the air. At the time, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles stated that if there is any doubt about Troy Davis’ guilt, Georgia cannot proceed with the execution.

This past Saturday, we got to hear eloquent, emotional words from two death row exonerees Shujaa Graham and Daryl Hunt. What stood out to me this time was that both men discussed their own innocence less than I have previously heard, and instead focused more on how important their connection with their families and communities were while they were on death row. This is particularly relevant because of the role Troy's family, in particular his sister Martina Correia, has played in raising up his case to the international level.

Listen to Martina's words on Saturday, prepare to be wowed by her tireless, loving, beautiful spirit:

Here's death row exonoree Shujaa Graham speaking about his experience and family:

We anticipate another execution date being set for Troy. To take action on this case, send a letter through Amnesty to the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles. The Parole Board has the power to commute Troy's sentence to Life, which would keep alive the possibility of a new trial request. Currently, the courts have failed Troy and we have little hope that the judicial branch will stop the madness.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Please don't forget to also sign the INNOCENCE MATTERS petition. http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/innocencematters/

This is a new effort. It is different from Amnesty's petition to the Board. As you probably know, Troy's lawyers are asking the US Supreme Court to hear Troy's case. Making that happen will be an uphill battle. But if everyone that cared about Troy and his plight chimed in, we could make a strong impact. Troy is worth fighting for with all we have.

We already have several hundred folks who have signed on, but we need so many more. We are asking people to sign it and include a personal comment on why innocence matters and why you think the Court should hear this case. While this will not go directly to the Court, it will help foster more public discourse about Troy's case while the Court decides whether or not to take the case. It is important that this discussion transcend views on the death penalty. We need to get those who are in favor and even indifferent to the death penalty thinking about innocence and the system’s failure to protect the innocent. Troy needs as many supporters as he can find.

So please help out. Check it out here here http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/innocencematters/

There have been some great posts so far. Lastly, if you have a website or blog, please post a link to the petition!