Posted October 14, 2008
"The Supreme Court has effectively ended a longstanding battle to have
new evidence in Davis' favor heard in a court of law."
Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) decried today's U.S. Supreme Court
decision to deny a new hearing for Georgia death-row inmate Troy Anthony
Davis. The Court had granted Davis a stay of execution just hours before
he was scheduled to be put to death while it decided whether to hear the
case. In denying Davis' petition for a writ of certiorari, the Court has
effectively ended a longstanding battle to have new evidence in Davis'
favor heard in a court of law.
"The Supreme Court's decision is truly shocking, given that significant
evidence of Davis' innocence will never have a chance to be examined,"
said Larry Cox, executive director for AIUSA. "Faulty eyewitness
identification is the leading cause of wrongful convictions, and the
hallmark of Davis' case. This was an opportunity for the Court to
clarify the constitutionality of putting the innocent to death –- and in
Davis' case, his innocence could only be determined with a new hearing
"It is disgraceful that the highest court in the land could sink so low
when doubts surrounding Davis' guilt are so high," Cox added.
The U.S. Supreme Court denied Davis’ petition for writ of certiorari
that was submitted on constitutional grounds of due process and cruel
and unusual punishment violations if an individual is put to death
despite significant claims to innocence. Davis’ attorneys filed the
petition after the Georgia Supreme Court’s narrow 4-3 ruling to deny
Davis an evidentiary hearing last March; the ruling was based on
technicalities rather than basic questions of guilt and innocence.
Davis was convicted in 1991 of killing Savannah police officer Mark
Allen MacPhail. Authorities failed to produce a murder weapon or any
physical evidence tying Davis to the crime. In addition, seven of the
nine original state witnesses have since recanted or changed their
initial testimonies in sworn affidavits. One of the remaining witnesses
is alleged to be the actual perpetrator.
Since the launch of its February 2007 report, "Where Is the Justice for
Me? The Case of Troy Davis, Facing Execution in Georgia," Amnesty
International has campaigned intensively for a new evidentiary hearing
or trial and clemency for Davis, collecting well over 200,000 clemency
petition signatures and letters from across the United States and around
To date, internationally known figures such as Pope Benedict XVI,
Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter have all
joined the call for clemency, as well as lawmakers from within and
outside of Georgia.
For more information about the Troy Davis case, please visit:
Take Action Online | Amnesty International USA | Human Rights Action .
High court turns down Ga. death row inmate
The Associated Press: High court turns down Ga. death row inmate
By GREG BLUESTEIN
ATLANTA (AP) The Supreme Court has cleared the way for a Georgia man to
be put to death for killing a police officer two weeks after it halted
his execution to consider his appeal.
Troy Davis asked the high court to intervene in his case and order a new
trial because seven of the nine witnesses against him have recanted
their testimony. Former President Jimmy Carter and South Africa
Archbishop Desmond Tutu are among prominent supporters who have called
for a new trial.
The justices granted Davis a reprieve on Sept. 23, less than two hours
before his scheduled execution. But they declined Tuesday to give his
appeal a full-blown hearing. It was not immediately clear when his
execution will be scheduled.
Davis' supporters, who erupted in joy when his execution was halted last
month, said they were heartbroken when they received word of the
"Oh, God. I think it's disgusting, terrible. I'm extremely
disappointed," said Martina Correia, Davis' sister. "Well, we still have
to fight. We can't stop."
Davis was convicted of the murder of 27-year-old officer Mark MacPhail,
who was working off-duty as a security guard at a bus station.
MacPhail's family said they were relieved.
"I was hoping that would be the decision," said MacPhail's mother,
Anneliese MacPhail. "I'm hoping that soon we will have some peace, that
this will all be over."
A divided Georgia Supreme Court has twice rejected Davis' request for a
new trial, and had rejected his appeal to delay the execution on Monday
afternoon. The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles also turned down his
bid for clemency.
MacPhail had rushed to help a homeless man who had been pistol-whipped
at a nearby parking lot, and was shot twice when he approached Davis and
two other men.
Witnesses identified Davis as the shooter, and at the 1991 trial,
prosecutors said he wore a "smirk on his face" as he fired the gun.
But Davis' lawyers say new evidence proves their client was a victim of
mistaken identity. Besides those who have recanted their testimony,
three others who did not testify have said Sylvester "Red" Coles who
testified against Davis at his trial confessed to the killing.
Coles refused to talk about the case when contacted by The Associated
Press during a 2007 court appearance and has no listed phone number.
Prosecutors have said the case is closed. They also say some of the
witness affidavits simply repeat what a trial jury has already heard,
while others are irrelevant because they come from witnesses who never
Associated Press Writer Mark Sherman contributed to this report from