August 17, 2009

Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Troy Davis


Villagers will be happy to know that the U.S. Supreme Court today announced that Troy Davis will finally get his day in court ... and a chance to prove his innocence. The court ordered a federal judge in Georgia to review the overwhelming evidence of Troy's innocence.

Troy was sentenced to death for the 1991 killing of Mark McPhail, a police officer in Savannah, Georgia. We have posted before that the State of Georgia should not kill Troy Davis because there was no physical evidence tying him to the crime and seven out of nine witnesses have recanted or contradicted their testimony.

The high court ordered a federal judge in Georgia to determine whether there is evidence "that could not have been obtained at the time of trial (that) clearly establishes petitioner's innocence."

"The substantial risk of putting an innocent man to death clearly provides an adequate justification for holding an evidentiary hearing," said Justice John Paul Stevens, writing for the court. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer concurred with Stevens.
Davis' attorneys have delayed his execution three times by raising doubts about those witnesses. But state and federal courts have denied Davis' request for a new trial, and Georgia officials have repeatedly rejected calls for clemency.

The case has attracted worldwide attention, with calls to stop Davis' execution from former President Jimmy Carter, Pope Benedict XVI and Nobel Peace Prize-winner Desmond Tutu.

Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented from the decision to order an evidentiary hearing.

Scalia said, "every judicial and executive body that has examined petitioner's claim has been unpersuaded ... Davis' claim is a sure loser ... transferring his petition to the District Court is a confusing exercise that can serve no purpose except to delay the state's execution of its lawful criminal judgment."
Davis' family said the ruling gives them hope that he could be exonerated.

"I'm always optimistic," said his sister Martina Correia, who has traveled around the world advocating for his case. "This means he gets another chance. And we're going to keep fighting for that chance."
State officials welcomed the ruling.

"Hopefully, this hearing will resolve the doubts about the verdict handed down by the Chatham County jury 18 years ago," Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker said in a statement.
Villager's Voice: Today is a good day! The Supreme Court is finally going to give Troy a chance to present this evidence and prove his innocence! That's a victory for Troy and his family — and for all villagers.

5 comments:

Color Online said...

YES!

Thanks for the update.

HD Notes said...

wayne, keep us informed!!!

Villager said...

Color Online & HD Notes - Please sahre with your blog readers as well...

MacDaddy said...

This is great news, Villager. But I must say I wasn't pleased with the email I received from Ben Jealous, the head of the NAACP. After thanking me and other "NAACP members and supporters," he went on to say that he will be contacting me to let me know what I can to help in the future.

Before providing me instructions in the future, Mr. Jealous should thank Amnesty International for making people the world over aware of Troy's plight, the many black bloggers such as yourself, Sojourner's Place, myself at daddyBstrong and countless of others for keeping people updated and having a successful day where blak bloggers blogged for Troy Davis' freedom.

I, for one, am glad Mr. Jealous and the NAACP have finally come a round to supporting Troy. But first and foremost, give props to the people who were working for Troy, when the NAACP was trying to pick a leader and put its finances in order.

Mr. Jealous needs to know we're not joining him; he and the NAACP are finally joining us and we'll be giving him instructions later.

Villager said...

MacDaddy - I feel ya'. However, I don't begrudge Mr. Jealous his efforts to encourage his membership ... and I appreciate the visit that Mr. Jealous made to Troy Davis a couple of months ago. The key is that all of us were pulling in the same direction and the US Supreme Court bent to the will of the people. Now the focus shifts back to the folks in Georgia...