Troy Davis Receives Last Minute Stay

Only two hours before Troy Davis was to be executed in Georgia, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to consider Davis’ appeal. Davis wants the Court to order a judge to hear from the witnesses who have recanted their original testimony against him and from others who say another man confessed to the crime.

A variety of influential people have spoken out on Davis’ behalf included former President Jimmy Carter, Al Sharpton, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa.

In 1989, Davis was convicted of murder and sentenced to death based only on witness testimony. Seven of the nine non-police witnesses have since recanted that testimony, stating that they experienced police coercion.

Davis’ sister, Martina Correia, has been working tirelessly on behalf of her brother in order for the court to consider the new evidence indicating that Davis is innocent. The public outcry in this case continues to grow, demonstrating that when enough people are willing to speak and act, the powers that be are forced to listen.

The U.S. Supreme Court will consider the appeal on Monday and if they choose to hear it, the stay will remain in effect. If the Court decides not to hear the appeal, the stay will be automatically lifted, and Georgia can move forward with the execution.

We will keep you posted on this case and will provide more actions for you to take if and when they are necessary.

I have included a statement released yesterday from the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.

STATEMENT FROM DIANN-RUST TIERNEY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR of NCADP,
REGARDING A STAY OF EXECUTION FOR TROY DAVIS

WASHINGTON, DC – The National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty joins with pro death penalty law enforcement officials, abolitionist, civil and human rights organizations in calling for a halt in tonight’s scheduled execution of Troy Davis. There is just too much doubt about whether Georgia is executing the right man to proceed. There is no public consensus in this case, and that should be required before the government asserts its power to kill. To the contrary – the lack of public consensus and concern is reason enough to stop.

We are at a watershed moment in this case. If the execution proceeds, the State of Georgia, its Board of Pardons and Parole and the Georgia criminal justice system will be going beyond the point of return. They will have crossed an unfortunate threshold. No individual or institution that loves justice or fairness will ever be able to look at the individuals involved in this process in the same way.

We will have learned in a sad and tragic way that in the State of Georgia it really doesn’t matter whether you are guilty or innocent of committing a crime once the State is determined to execute a man or a woman. What passes for justice in the State of Georgia is mere window dressing.

If we did not know and understand it before, we know now that the criminal justice system in Georgia is broken. Whatever happens tonight, the struggle is not over. We are committed to helping the citizens of Georgia root out and throw out what is broken in hopes of building a criminal justice system that is worthy of its citizens.

Davis should be given every opportunity to have his appeal heard, especially as he may be innocent. No physical evidence links him to the crime for which he was convicted, the shooting death of a police officer. Additionally, the prosecution based its case on the testimony of nine eyewitnesses, seven of whom have recanted their testimony. One of those who did not recant is a likely suspect in the case. Several of those who did recant indicated that they were coerced into falsely identifying Davis as the killer. There may be more evidence that law enforcement officials withheld information from the defense which would prove Davis’ innocence. Once a person is put to death there is no opportunity to revisit the decision. There can be no posthumous clemency. The State of Georgia should not execute an innocent man.

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