November 21, 2008

Execution of Troy Davis Put on Hold by Federal Appeals Court

A federal appeals court has agreed to take up the case of a Georgia man on death row for allegedly killing a police officer despite strong doubts about his guilt.

Troy Davis, 40, is to get a new hearing on December 9, said the court, which has postponed his scheduled execution for the murder nearly 20 years ago of a white policeman.

The federal appeals court can either confirm the death sentence or send the case back to a lower court.

Davis has maintained his innocence and several witnesses at his 1991 trial have since recanted. Nine people who testified in Davis’s 1991 trial have recanted, saying they were pressured by police in the aftermath of the shooting. The murder weapon was never recovered and there was no DNA recovered at the scene.

His lawyers took the case all the way to the Supreme Court. In September, the high court halted Davis’s execution two hours before he was scheduled to die as it considered his request for a new trial.

But last month, the court refused to consider the constitutionality of executing a person when there is new, substantial evidence to show he was not guilty of the crime, thus opening the way for the state to reschedule his execution.

Now we wait to see what the federal appeals court has to say about the case. And Troy Davis lives another day...

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