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Update 3: US Supreme Court Reverses One Week Stay of Execution. The State Killed Troy Davis Tonight at 11:08 p.m. EST ( 0) Printer friendly page Print This
By The ANSWER Coalition. Kate Randall (WSWS)
The ANSWER Coalition. WSWS
Wednesday, Sep 21, 2011

Third Update 10:30 p.m. September 22, 2011

Editor's Comment: Once again, the Beast has ripped off his mask and revealed his true nature. Earlier this evening, the U.S. Supreme Court gave Troy Davis a one week stay of execution saying that it would review his case - only 2 hours before the State of Georgia planned to kill him. Within the following 4 hours the same judges reversed their decision saying in effect that Troy must die tonight. CNN Television now has their talking heads discussing Troy Davis' execution with the headline beneath, "Troy Davis Execution Expected Soon." Protestors are back at the prison right now, surrounded by riot police.

We wait ....

At 11:08 p.m. tonight - the state killed Troy Davis in Georgia's Death House in Jackson despite convincing evidence that he was innocent of the crime. It was in fact a State Murder. CNN Reporters were near-pornographic, competing for the camera, with their descriptions of Troy as he lay dying. The State plays games with the lives of its citizens and their families and kills whom they choose to kill regardless of evidence and constitutional right to legal due process.

- Les Blough, Editor


Jackson, Georgia (CNN) -- The U.S. Supreme Court late Wednesday rejected a last-ditch appeal from Georgia death row inmate Troy Davis, allowing the state to proceed with the scheduled execution of the convicted killer.

The justices, in a brief order, turned aside a request for a stay of execution in the much-debated case.

Davis' lawyers and high-profile supporters had asked the state and various courts to intervene, arguing he did not murder an off-duty Savannah police officer.

Davis had been scheduled to die by lethal injection at 7 p.m. ET for the 1989 killing of Mark MacPhail. But the proceeding was delayed more than three hours as the justices pondered a plea filed by his attorneys after last-ditch appeals failed throughout the day.

Several hundred people, most of them opposing the proceeding, gathered outside the state prison in Jackson where Davis, 42, awaited his fate. Others held a vigil in a nearby church.

The inmate's sister, Martina Davis-Correia, was among those waiting outside the prison. She said officials need to take more time to examine the case. "When you are looking at someone's life, you can't press rewind."

At 10:30 p.m., more than 100 officers, many in riot gear, stood guard over the largely-quiet gathering, which featured candles, occasional prayers and songs. At least three people who crossed the street had been taken away in handcuffs.

Davis's supporters, who also rallied outside the U.S. Supreme Court building, argued that his conviction was based on the testimony of numerous witnesses who had recanted, including a jailhouse informer who claimed Davis had confessed.

"There's a genuine feeling among people here and across the nation that we're about to do the unthinkable," said Isaac Newton Farris Jr., president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

But prosecutors have stood by the conviction, and every appeal -- including the last-minute petitions filed Wednesday -- has failed.

Davis's supporters cheered and hugged each other when news of the earlier delay reached them. But it did not sit well with McPhail's mother, who remained at home.

"This delay again is very upsetting and I think really unfair to us, because we want this situation closed," the slain officer's mother, Anneliese MacPhail, told CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360." She said the execution would bring her "relief and maybe some peace."

Davis' attorneys started the day by asking a judge in Jackson, where Georgia's death row is located, to halt the proceeding, citing a new analysis they say shows ballistics testimony at his trial was "inaccurate and misleading." They also note that a federal judge found in 2010 that a jailhouse informer's testimony that Davis confessed to killing MacPhail was "patently false" and that prosecutors knew a key eyewitness account was wrong.

"Clearly, the fact that Mr. Davis's death sentence rests in part on 'patently false' and egregiously inaccurate and misleading testimony, evidence and argument renders the death sentence fundamentally unfair, unreliable and therefore violative of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments," his attorneys argued in a motion filed Wednesday morning.

That appeal was denied Wednesday afternoon. The state Supreme Court followed suit a short time later, leading his attorneys to turn to the U.S. Supreme Court in the final hour before the execution.

Davis has been scheduled to die three times before, most recently in October 2008. That time, the U.S. Supreme Court halted the execution two hours before it was scheduled to take place.

This time, Davis declined to request the special last meal offered inmates prior to execution and was offered a standard meal tray: Grilled cheeseburgers, oven-browned potatoes, baked beans, coleslaw, cookies and a grape drink.

"He has continued to insist this is not his last meal," said the Rev. Raphael Warnock, the senior pastor at Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church.

His case has drawn international attention, with Pope Benedict XVI, South African anti-apartheid leader Desmond Tutu and former President Jimmy Carter saying the execution should be called off. Amnesty International and the NAACP led efforts to exonerate Davis, and U.N. human rights officials joined those calls Wednesday.

"Not only do we urgently appeal to the government of the United States and the state of Georgia to find a way to stop the scheduled execution, but we believe that serious consideration should be given to commuting the sentence," read a joint statement from the U.N. special rapporteurs on arbitrary executions, judicial independence and torture.

But the man who originally prosecuted the case, Spencer Lawton, said those who do not believe there is physical evidence in the case are wrong.

"There are two Troy Davis cases," Lawton said Tuesday. "There is the legal case and the public relations case. We have consistently won in court, and consistently lost in the public relations battle."

Since Davis' 1991 trial, seven of the nine witnesses against him have recanted or contradicted their testimony. The U.S. Supreme Court ordered a district court in Savannah to review his claims of innocence in 2009, but District Judge William Moore ruled the following year that the evidence did "not require the reversal of the jury's judgment."

The parole board rejected a plea for clemency on Tuesday. In Georgia, only the board -- not the governor -- has the right to grant clemency.

And a request that Davis be allowed to sit for a polygraph by his attorneys was also rejected by the state Department of Corrections.

Davis' supporters argue he was the victim of a rush to judgment by police seeking justice for the death of one of their own, as well as widespread racial prejudice in the criminal justice system. Warnock noted to CNN that several other inmates have been proven innocent in recent years.

"Unfortunately, tomorrow morning, it will be too late for an exoneration for Troy Davis," Warnock said.

Supporters argue that the original witnesses who testified against Davis were fearful of police and spoke under duress. Other witnesses also have since come forward with accounts that call Davis' conviction into question, according to his supporters.

According to prosecutors, Davis was at a pool party in Savannah when he shot a man, Michael Cooper, wounding him in the face. He then went to a nearby convenience store, where he pistol-whipped a homeless man, Larry Young, who'd just bought a beer, according to accounts of the case.

Prosecutors said MacPhail rushed to the scene to help, but wound up being shot three times by Davis. They said Davis shot the officer once in the face as he stood over him.

A jury convicted Davis on two counts of aggravated assault and one count each of possessing a firearm during a crime, obstructing a law enforcement officer and murder. The murder charge led to the death sentence.

Anneliese MacPhail told CNN earlier this week that she didn't begrudge protesters their opinions. But she said they don't understand the facts of the case.

"To them the point is the death penalty. Ninety-nine percent have absolutely no idea who Troy Davis is or who Mark MacPhail was," she said. "They're just following their belief."

Second Update

Troy Davis was granted a one-week stay of execution tonight - for review by the US Supreme Court. He was granted the stay only 2 hours before he was scheduled to die in Georgia's Death Chamber. Please see how you can keep the pressure on by writing letters in the articles below. The battle is not over.

Thank you,

- Les Blough, Editor

“The struggle for justice doesn’t end with me. This struggle is for all the Troy Davises who came before me and all the ones who will come after me. I’m in good spirits  and I’m prayerful and at peace. But I will not stop fighting until I’ve taken my last breath. Georgia is prepared to snuff out the life of an innocent man.”

 -Troy Davis (via Dave Zirin and
Amnesty International)

First Update

Editor's Comment: Troy Davis scheduled for execution by the State of Georgia in the United States a few hours from now at 7 p.m. EST. This is an opportunity for each of us to do everything we can to save him from what amounts to another state murder. Please take action to help flood the offices of President Obama and Attorney General Holder with calls and letters.

Thank you,

- Les Blough, Editor
Axis of Logic

Tell President Obama to take action to save the life of Troy Davis
Send this appeal to everyone you know
September 21, 2011

Send a letter right now to President Obama and Attorney General Holder demanding a federal civil rights investigation that could stay tonight’s execution of Troy Davis.

TOP: Troy Davis. BOTTOM: Supporters of Troy Davis demand justice in front of the Georgia Capitol building, Sept. 20.
Dear supporter of Troy Davis,

The Obama/Holder Justice Department should launch a federal civil rights investigation right now into the case of Troy Davis and seek a stay of his execution that is scheduled for tonight at 7pm.

President Obama, who routinely lectures sovereign governments abroad about civil rights and human rights issues within their countries, has until now said nothing to the state government of Georgia that allowed racist police forces to intimidate and coerce witnesses in the effort to execute an innocent Black man.

It’s not too late to act. The clock is ticking before an innocent man is put to death.

Send a letter right this second to President Obama and Attorney General Holder insisting that he speak up and use the authority of the Presidency to prevent this outrage. Tell President Obama to order a Federal Civil Rights investigation into the case of Troy Davis.

You can also call the White House switchboard and tell them that you want President Obama to initiate a federal civil rights investigation and seek a stay of execution. Call the White House at 202-456-1414.

Background to the case of Troy Davis

More than 1 million people have signed a petition in support of Troy Davis. Demonstrations have taken place around the country and the world. Even the former director of the FBI has said that this execution is an injustice and should not go forward.

Of the nine witnesses, seven have recanted or altered their version of events. Five have signed statements saying they were coerced by police to testify against Davis, a common element of many racist “legal lynchings” targeting Black people. Three witnesses said that another man confessed to them that he killed the police officer.

The execution of Troy Davis shows with full clarity the true character of the racist legal system in the United States—its complete failing as any arbiter of justice.  Davis has accessed all allowed avenues of appeal in the U.S. justice system in his quest not be put to death, an innocent man.

The members of the politically appointed Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles, impervious to any accountability to the people, have decided that they wish for Troy Davis to die. With their announcement today that they have denied clemency to Troy Davis, he is on course to be executed this Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 7pm Eastern, in the state of Georgia.

Absolutely no physical evidence has been found that implicates Davis in the killing. No murder weapon has ever been found, exposing yet another major gap in the prosecution’s case. This is the fourth time the state of Georgia has set an execution date for Davis, who was wrongly convicted of killing a police officer in 1989.

The ANSWER Coalition has been joining with hundreds of other organizations in demonstrations throughout the country in recent days and weeks.

There is worldwide opposition to Troy Davis's execution. On Sept. 16, coordinated protests took place in cities all over the United States and the world.

Over 650,000 signatures in support of Troy Davis were delivered to the parole board. Now, over 1 million people have signed petitions in his support. Prominent signers include South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former President Jimmy Carter, more than four dozen members of Congress, and many celebrities.

The decision to deny clemency to Davis reaffirms the unabashed racism and bankruptcy of the justice system. We are staying in the streets to demand justice! Stop the execution of Troy Davis! End the racist death penalty!

Send a letter to President Obama and Attorney General Holder right nowdemanding that the Justice department order a Federal Civil Rights investigation into the case of Troy Davis. Prevent the the state sponsored murder of an innocent man.

Source: The ANSWER Coalition

The State of Georgia plans to kill Troy Davis tonight.

21 September 2011

On Tuesday morning, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles denied clemency for Troy Davis, clearing the way for the 42-year-old death row inmate’s execution by lethal injection at 7 p.m. this evening at the state prison in Jackson.

It is the fourth time in as many years that Troy Davis has faced execution. Barring a last-minute intervention by the US Supreme Court, which is highly unlikely, the state of Georgia will send a man to his death under conditions where the overwhelming preponderance of evidence points to his innocence.

The ruling has outraged Davis’s supporters, who gathered in demonstrations in Georgia and elsewhere Tuesday to protest the board’s decision. More than a million people have signed petitions demanding a halt to the execution, and the demand for clemency has been supported by a wide range of figures, including former president Jimmy Carter, the Pope and former FBI director William Sessions.

The prospect of executing an innocent man has provoked revulsion internationally. Bianca Jaggar, the Council of Europe’s ambassador on the death penalty, commented on the parole board’s decision, “To execute Troy Davis in these circumstances would be a travesty. Executing an innocent man is a state-sanctioned murder.”

The parole board ruling followed an all-day hearing on Monday, which took statements from Davis’s attorneys and witnesses in the morning, followed in the afternoon by prosecutors’ arguments and statements from family members of Mark MacPhail, the police officer Davis was convicted of killing.

Davis was convicted and sentenced to death in 1991 for the 1989 murder of MacPhail, who was moonlighting as a security guard at the time. MacPhail had intervened to stop the beating of a homeless man in a fast-food parking lot next to a bus station in Savannah, Georgia. There is no physical evidence connecting Davis to the crime and the murder weapon has never been recovered.

Since the trial, seven of nine witnesses for the prosecution at his 1991 trial have recanted their testimony, many stating that they testified falsely due to police intimidation. Several of these witnesses testified at Monday’s hearing, along with one of three jurors who voted to sentence Davis to death but have since come forward to say they would not do so now.

Brenda Forrest, one of the trial jurors, told the Georgia parole panel that while she had originally recommended the death penalty, she no longer stood by the verdict or the sentence. “I feel emphatically, that Mr. Davis cannot be executed under these circumstances,” she said, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Another defense witness at Monday’s hearing, Quianna Glover, testified that she heard Sylvester “Redd” Coles—the first person to identify Davis as the killer to the police and one of the two witnesses still supporting the prosecution’s version of events—confess that he killed McPhail. Numerous witnesses have sworn affidavits that it was in fact Coles who murdered McPhail.

The five-member Board of Pardons and Paroles dismissed the testimony of these defense witnesses and others, stating, “The Board has considered the totality of the information presented in this case and thoroughly deliberated on it, after which the decision was to deny clemency.” The panel did not provide a breakdown of board members’ votes.

After the decision was announced, Brian Kammer, one of Davis’s attorneys, stated, “I am utterly shocked and disappointed at the failure of our justice system at all levels to correct a miscarriage of justice.” At a press conference on Tuesday, Davis supporters said they were launching a last-ditch effort to halt the execution, calling on the Chatham County District Attorney to void Davis’s death warrant.

Troy Davis, who has always maintained his innocence, has spent 20 years on death row. The course of his case over these two decades has exposed a judicial system that operates in wanton disregard of basic legal and democratic rights.

As is now clear, the prosecution at Davis’s 1991 trial utilized testimony gained through police intimidation to push for his conviction and death sentence. Many of those who testified against Davis were threatened by the police that they would be tried as accomplices in the murder or be sent to jail if they did not name him as the triggerman.

During Davis’s state habeas proceedings from 1991 to 1996, during which time he appealed his death sentence, he had no lawyer assigned to his case. This is because Georgia is one of a handful of states that does not provide indigent defendants with legal counsel for such proceedings.

The 1996 Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (ATEDP), signed into law under Democrat Bill Clinton, has played a major role in preventing Davis from getting a new trial. The legislation imposes severe restrictions on death row inmates to seek relief in federal courts. Specifically, because Davis failed to obtain a hearing on his claims of innocence in Georgia courts, he could not get one at the federal level.

In August 2009, following a habeas corpus petition filed directly with the high court on Davis’s behalf, the US Supreme Court ordered a federal trial court to consider his case. The Supreme Court ordered the federal court “to receive testimony and make finding of fact” on whether new evidence could establish Davis’s innocence.

In June 2010, the federal district court in Savannah, Georgia met under Judge William Moore. The hearing heard several former accusers of Davis, who testified that they had been pressured by police to implicate Davis. While Moore ruled that the recantations “cast some additional, minimal doubt on his conviction,” he said the new evidence was insufficient to warrant a new trial.

The US Supreme Court in March of this year rejected without comment another appeal by Davis for a new trial. Tonight’s execution date was set earlier this month.

While 51 members of the US Congress have gone on record opposing the execution of Troy Davis, there has been no significant effort from politicians of either big business party to call a halt to it. Barack Obama has made no comment on the impending execution, and his press secretary has referred media questions about the case to the Justice Department.

Obama is an open supporter of the death penalty, writing in his memoir that while he thinks capital punishment “does little to deter crime,” he supports it in cases “so heinous, so beyond the pale, that the community is justified in expressing the full measure of its outrage by meting out the ultimate punishment.”

In recent years, the US Supreme Court has ruled that executions of the mentally impaired and those convicted of crimes as juveniles are unconstitutional, but it has done so to uphold the system of capital punishment overall, a barbaric practice outlawed by the vast majority of industrialized nations.

The blood of Troy Davis’s execution will be on the hands of the entire political establishment. They are implicated not only in his state killing, but in the deaths of the 1,267 individuals who have been executed since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976.

Source: WSWS

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