Tuesday, September 23, 2008

To The Supreme Court Of The United States: re; Troy Davis

To the honorable members of the Supreme Court of the United States,

As you are aware, Troy Anthony Davis will be executed tonight in the State of Georgia for the murder of police officer Mark Allen MacPhail in a Burger King parking lot back in 1989. The sole evidence used against him was the testimony of nine eyewitnesses, seven of whom have recanted their testimony, and in fact have pointed their finger at one of the other supposed witnesses, namely one 'Red' Cole.

The recantations of these witnesses came about due to police coercion of their original testimony, with threats of bodily harm or imprisonment for non co-operation. This travesty of good old boy justice must not be allowed to stand. While fully understanding the mentality of police when one of their own is killed, we must, however badly the desire for revenge, make fully sure that one is actually guilty before a person is put to death for that crime. Lynch mob mentality should hold no place in the meting out of justice, and lynch mob mentality is exactly what the State of Georgia is proposing and intends to carry out.

There are many cases that provide precedence for the Court to stay the execution of Troy Anthony Davis, or to order a new trial. Since the resumption of the death penalty in 1977, more than 100 people have been released from their sentence of death due solely to unreliable eyewitness testimony. In the Davis case, that is literally all of the evidence they have against him. Eyewitness testimony. That has been recanted by most witnesses, one of whom, Antoine Williams, could not even read when ordered by police to sign a statement implicating Davis. The true finger of guilt has in fact been pointed at one of the witnesses who testified against Davis, but this evidence has been ignored by the State of Georgia.

No murder weapon was ever found, again bolstering Davis' argument that he was not the killer. There is virtually no physical evidence linking Davis to the crime, again, other than the tainted testimony. This alone brings about more than enough criteria for reasonable doubt, and the Court should find that had many of these facts been known at trial, no conviction would have ever taken place. The Court should also consider the fact that one of the attorneys on Davis' legal team was drunk while in court, and therefore Davis did not receive competent legal counsel.

Justices of the Court, while considering the merits of granting a stay of execution, please consider that many proponents of the death penalty have called for a new trial for Troy Davis. Proponents that include former FBI Director William Sessions, who has said that executing Davis would be "intolerable." These death penalty supporters have, to a person, reviewed the case against Davis and called the case a "travesty of justice."

Consider also the actions of the officials and courts of the State of Georgia. In this, an election year, it would not benefit the Chatham County District Attorney's Office should it be found that their office had wrongly prosecuted an innocent man. Undue pressure has been placed upon the Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole to reverse their decision of last year staying the execution. The Attorney General of the State of Georgia has secluded himself and refused to accept lawful petition for redress from the People. These are not the actions of law enforcement officers with nothing to hide, and their actions should speak loudly enough by themselves to give the Court pause. The listed extenuating circumstances, and others not listed here, cry out for Your Honors to issue a writ of Habeus Corpus, a stay of the execution, and an order setting aside the guilty verdict of Troy Davis, with the date for a new trial, one in which Davis will be exonerated, set for as soon as possible.

In many cases, the death penalty is clearly warranted. Wanton killings can not go unpunished, murderers of children should never escape the long arm of the law, and cold, calculated snuffing out of human life should have no place in a civilized society. But what we have in the case of Troy Anthony Davis is a clear case of injustice, and to allow this execution to take place would be to make us all complicit in the murder of an innocent man. Allowing this execution to go forward would do little more than reinforce the lynch mob mentality that is permeating the air, and for the reasons stated, the Court should and must consider the relief asked for.

1 comment:

rebecca said...

a couple of years ago i took a criminology course that opened my eyes. more innocent people are put to death each year than guilty ones. and the majority of those that are innocent and dying? blacks. but people want their revenge and feel that they cannot continue with their lives until someone pays the price, even if that someone is innocent.

i say 'nay' to the death penalty. it simply is not working.