Excerpt from an article I originally posted back in September:
Two hours before Troy Davis was scheduled to die, the U.S. Supreme Court granted him a stay of execution.
Davis is an African-American man, who was convicted of the 1989 killing of a white police officer, Mark Allen McPhail. However, since his conviction, seven of the nine witnesses to the crime have recanted their testimonies, and now claim they were intimidated into making their initial statements against Davis. There is no physical evidence tying Davis to the scene. There is no murder weapon. Three witnesses now claim they overheard another man confessing to the crime.
The whole case stinks of fraud, deception, and racism. Martina Correia, Davis's sister, claimed in an interview that the Georgia parole board is the only entity, non-judicial, that's able to act in secrecy. There are no transcripts. There are no recordings. There is no media presence...Correia believes the Davis case is being handled by the state of Georgia under a shroud of secrecy because the state has already experienced a string of embarrassing death row exonerations.
If they expose it, then you would have another exoneration yet from the same county. In that county, there's been two out of the five death row exonerations for the state under the same prosecutor (Spencer Lawton,) who's run unopposed for almost thirty years.
There was a brief flurry of hope when the blogosphere and independent media aggressively pursued the Davis case. Al Sharpton demanded justice. Petitions circulated. The case went to the Supreme Court, and Davis was granted a stay of execution.
Then the story faded away, but the injustice and outrage did not fade in the minds of Davis's supporters. Tuesday, May 19th, is the Global Day of Action for Troy Davis. Jared Feuer, Regional Director of Amnesty International describes the event as a rally for Davis, but also for the much larger problem of the death penalty itself:
"Troy's case reveals all that is wrong with the death penalty - from the 132 exoneration that have already occurred, to geographical bias (80% of executions happen in the South), to ineffective counsel (the courts have since faulted Troy's attorneys in not pursuing specific appeal paths as a justification to deny a new hearing), to issues of race (80% of executions involve a white victim)."