Elections ’08: Troy Davis & The Death Penalty

(This is written as part of the Youth Media Blog-a-thon, sponsored by Youth Outlook and WireTap.)

Troy Davis was scheduled to be executed on Monday, October 27th, 2008, but today received a stay of execution by the Federal Appeals Court in Atlanta. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution states that: “Davis, 40, sits on death row for the Aug. 19, 1989, murder of 27-year-old Savannah police Officer Mark Allen MacPhail. Since Davis’ trial, seven of nine key prosecution witnesses have recanted their testimony.” There is no physical evidence in this case implicating Davis. No gun, no bullet, no nothing, just “witness” testimony, the majority of which have since recanted said testimony, saying they were pressured to implicate Davis by the police and others.

For anyone who has been keeping up with this case, it has been a rollercoaster ride, with Davis being granted stays of execution sometimes mere minutes before he is scheduled to die.

I stood out with hundreds of other people last night at a rally for Davis organized by Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (GFADP) on the steps of the Georgia State Capitol. In freezing cold weather, we were fired up by chants of “I am Troy Davis!” It was thus great news that we were greeted with this morning, upon hearing of the Court’s decision. The fight for Troy’s life is not over by any means, but the stay has given Troy more days to live, and has given us more time to strategize, fight and hope.

Sadly, Troy’s story is not unique. He is one of 3,300 people on Death Row in the United States. The NAACP Legal Defense Fund states that of that 3,300:

“…Over 41 percent are African-American—more than three times their representation in the general population. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, since 1973 there have been 130 people exonerated—people wrongly sentenced to death—in 26 different states, including five exonerated on death row in Georgia. Evidence even suggests that at least four innocent people have been executed in recent years.”

This is not an equal system of justice. The Death Penalty is a system that overwhelmingly kills poor people of color, many of whom are found to be innocent of the crimes they are accused of. And with that reality, in the midst of a Presidential election in 2008 America that has constantly thrust race in the spotlight, the two mainstream candidates, John McCain and Barack Obama, have both pledged their support to continue this barbaric, disgustingly racist system.

Troy Davis has not escaped being executed by the State due to the significant evidence casting doubt on his guilty conviction alone. Decision makers have had to rethink their rulings in regard to him because of the hundreds and thousands of people who have been taking to the streets and demanding that if there is but one inkling of evidence suggesting his innocence, the man at the very least deserves another trial.

No matter who we choose to vote for in the upcoming election, a vote alone does not bring about progressive social change. It takes organizing our communities to take collective action in demanding the justice that we deserve. It takes educating and informing ourselves and our communities about what’s really going on. It takes passing on to our children and communities lessons that value the lives of human beings, and not violent vengeance.

We will not let the State kill another innocent human being in our names, with our tax dollars. We will not let the State continue to profit off of killing innocent human beings in our names, with our tax dollars. We are Troy Davis. I am Troy Davis.

Please check the GFADP website regularly for updates on the Troy Davis campaign and for info on how you can take action.

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7 responses to “Elections ’08: Troy Davis & The Death Penalty

  1. what an unbelievable day! I had given up hope- we were at the Governor’s office delivering a letter signed by 100+ Georgia clergy – toting a casket for Justice no less- when we got the great news of the stay. i am still in shock…

  2. Sara, you are awesome, and I will continue to fight this disgusting system of injustice beside you. Peace, comrade.

    KC

  3. Regarding Troy Davis:

    It is always required that both sides of the story be told.

    Please read all of the references, below, in their entirety.

    (1) Davis v Georgia, Georgia Supreme Court, March 17, 2008
    Full ruling http://www.gasupreme.us/pdf/s07a1758.pdf
    Summary http://www.gasupreme.us/op_summaries/mar_17.pdf

    ” . . . the majority finds that ‘most of the witnesses to the crime who have allegedly recanted have merely stated that they now do not feel able to identify the shooter.’ “One of the affidavits ‘might actually be read so as to confirm trial testimony that Davis was the shooter.’ ”

    The murder occurred in 1989.

    (2) “THE PAROLE BOARD’S CONSIDERATION OF THE TROY ANTHONY DAVIS CASE” ,
    9/22/08, http://www.pap.state.ga.us/opencms/opencms/

    “After an exhaustive review of all available information regarding the Troy Davis case and after considering all possible reasons for granting clemency, the Board has determined that clemency is not warranted.”

    “The Board has now spent more than a year studying and considering this case. As a part of its proceedings, the Board gave Davis’ attorneys an opportunity to present every witness they desired to support their allegation that there is doubt as to Davis’ guilt. The Board heard each of these witnesses and questioned them closely. In addition, the Board has studied the voluminous trial transcript, the police investigation report and the initial statements of all witnesses. The Board has also had certain physical evidence retested and Davis interviewed.”

    (3) read the PDF statement released by Chatham County District Attorney Spencer Lawton on the case facts at: http://tinyurl.com/46c73l

    A detailed review of the extraordinary consideration that Davis was given for all of his claims.

    (4) Officer Mark Allen MacPhail
    The family of murdered Officer MacPhail fully believes that Troy Davis murdered their loved one and that the evidence is supportive of that opinion.
    http://www.markallenmacphail.com/

  4. Thanks for stopping through, Dudley.

    True, there are always two sides to every story, and you definitely have the prosecution down. Still, anytime seven out of nine witnesses recant their testimony in a case where there is no physical evidence, when a man’s life hangs in the balance no less, I think deserves as many looks as are needed to determine the truth.

    KC

  5. Thanks for sharing this, and for keeping the important things in perspective while things get a little crazy during the election countdown.

  6. Beautiful post KC. Brother Troy is in my (and many other’s) prayers. It keeps me hopeful that you continue to do the work you do and work so hard at it even when things dont feel so hopeful. Keep on, brother.

    Bless
    C

  7. TROY DAVIS,PLEASE REMEMBER THAT AMERICA IS NOT THE OLD SOUTH ~ AFRICA !!!

    A $TATE ECONOMIC BOYCOTT OF GEORGIA INTERNATIONALLY WILL OBVIOU$LY BE THE END RE$ULT OF GEORGIA DECIDING TO MURDER A PO$$IBLE INNOCENT TROY DAVI$ WITHOUT A NEW AND FAIR TRIAL ?

    US CONGRESSIONAL MEMBERS WHO ARE ALSO LAWYERS BY TRADE, CONTINUE TO DENY poorer AMERICAN’S PROPER LEGAL REPRESENTATION !!!

    THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY NEEDS TO BEGIN A FORMAL INVESTIGATION INTO THESE US CONGRESSIONAL CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY, AND HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS BEING INFLICTED ON poorer AMERICAN’S LIKE MR.TROY DAVIS OF GEORGIA !!!

    HAVING BEEN DENIED APPEAL LAWYERS FOR THREE YEARS ON DEATH ROW IN GEORGIA MR. TROY DAVIS IS NOW BEING EXECUTED FOR A CRIME HE MIGHT NOT HAVE EVEN BEEN INVOLVED WITH !!!

    SENATOR OBAMA PLEASE LET THIS COUNTRIES VOTERS KNOW YOUR FEELINGS AND THOUGHTS ABOUT A NEEDED FUTURE REPAIR AND RENOVATION OF OUR BROKEN JUDICIAL SYSTEM THAT CONTINUES TO ALLOW THE EXECUTION’S OF EVEN POSSIBLE INNOCENT AMERICAN’S LIKE TROY DAVIS OF GEORGIA ?????

    BEING THE WEALTHIEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD SENATOR OBAMA, DON’T WE NEED AS THE LEADERS OF THE FREE WORLD TO BEGIN ONCE AGAIN TO RE-INVEST THE PROPER MONIE$ IN OUR OWN US JUDICIAL SYSTEM, ASSURING ALL OF OUR CITIZENS THEIR RIGHTS TO FAIR TRIALS WITH PROPER LEGAL REPRESENTATION ???

    DOES GOD NEED TO LOBBY OUR US CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS OF THE FREE WORLD ON BEHALF OF OUR poorer american’s SENATOR OBAMA,OR ARE YOU WATCHING OUT FOR THEM ??

    ***OUR US CONGRESS CONTINUES TO DENY MIDDLE CLASS AND WORKING POOR AMERICANS PROPER LEGAL REPRESENTATION EVEN THOUGH WRONGFUL EXECUTIONS & FALSE INCARCERATIONS CONTINUE ALL ACROSS AMERICA ???

    *** 700 BILLION $$$ AVAILABLE FOR US BAILOUT, & NO $$$ FOR ALL POORER AMERICANS PROPER LEGAL REPRESENTATION ? SENATOR OBAMA, THIS JUDICIAL INJUSTICE HAS BECOME AN AMERICAN ART FORM, AND NO LONGER CAN BE KEPT HIDDEN OR SECRET FROM THE AMERICAN PEOPLE EVEN IF CERTAIN (501c3) U$ RELIGIOU$ LEADER$ HAVE BEEN $ILENCED ??

    LETS ALL HOPE OUR MEDIA FRIENDS CONTINUE TO SHOW AN INTEREST IN REPORTING ON THIS AMERICAN HORROR FACING THESE (TENS OF THOUSANDS) FORGOTTEN AND TRAPPED POORER AMERICANS, AND HOW THIS PRESIDENTIAL CONTENDER HANDLES THIS VERY SERIOUS ISSUE FACING AMERICA’S LATINO AND BLACK AMERICAN COMMUNITIES ????

    WITH 80% OF THE BLACK AMERICAN VOTERS SAYING THEY SUPPORT SENATOR OBAMA IN THIS PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, IT IS ONLY FAIR FOR EVERYONE TO KNOW PRIOR BEING ELECTED OUR NEXT PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES HOW THIS DEMOCRATIC SENATOR TRULY FEELS ABOUT THIS AMERICAN JUDICIAL INJUSTICE CONTINUING TO INFLICT GRAVE HARM ON THE BLACK & LATINO AMERICAN FAMILIES AND THEIR COMMUNITIES NATIONWIDE ??????

    *** WHEN GOD’S FACE BECAME VERY RED *** THE US SUPREME COURT GAVE ENEMY COMBATANTS FEDERAL APPEAL HC RIGHTS LAWYERS AND PROPER ACCESS TO US FEDERAL COURTS,AND POORER AMERICANS (MANY EVEN ON DEATH ROW) ARE DENIED PROPER FEDERAL APPEAL LEGAL REPRESENTATION TO OUR US FEDERAL COURTS OF APPEAL, AND ROTTING IN AMERICAN PRISONS NATIONWIDE ?????????

    **** INNOCENT AMERICANS ARE DENIED REAL HC RIGHTS WITH THEIR FEDERAL APPEALS ! THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE $LOWLY FINDING OUT HOW EA$Y IT I$ FOR MIDDLE CLA$$ AND WORKING POOR AMERICAN$ TO FALL VICTIM TO OUR U$ MONETARY JUDICIAL $Y$TEM.

    ****WHEN THE US INNOCENT WERE ABANDONED BY THE GUILTY **** The prison experts have reported that there are 100,000 innocent Americans currently being falsely imprisoned along with the 2,300,000 total US prison population nationwide.

    ***WHERE ARE AMERICA’S RELIGIOUS LEADERS ??????? Since our US Congress has never afforded poor prison inmates federal appeal legal counsel for their federal retrials,they have effectively closed the doors on these tens of thousands of innocent citizens ever being capable of possibly exonerating themselves to regain their freedom through being granted new retrials.

    This same exact unjust situation was happening in our Southern States when poor and mostly uneducated Black Americans were being falsely imprisoned for endless decades without the needed educational skills to properly submit their own written federal trial appeals.

    This devious and deceptive judicial process of making our poor and innocent prison inmates formulate and write their own federal appeal legal cases for possible retrials on their state criminal cases,is still in effect today even though everyone in our US judicial system knows that without proper legal representation, these tens of thousands of innocent prison inmates will be denied their rightful opportunities of ever being granted new trials from our federal appeal judges!!

    Sadly, the true US *legal* Federal Appeal situation that occurs when any of our uneducated American prison inmates are forced to attempt to submit their own written Federal Appeals (from our prisons nationwide) without the assistance of proper legal counsel, is that they all are in reality being denied their legitimate rights for Habeas Corpus with our US FEDERAL COURTS and will win any future Supreme Court Case concerning this injustice!

    For our judicial system and our US Congressional Leaders Of The Free World to continue to pretend that this is a real and fair opportunity for our American Middle Class and Working Poor Citizens, only delays the very needed future change of Federal Financing of all these Federal appeals becoming a normal formula of Our American judicial system.

    It was not so very long ago that Public Defenders became a Reality in this country.Prior that legal reality taking place, their were also some who thought giving anyone charged with a crime a free lawyer was a waste of taxpayers $$.

    This FACADE and HORROR of our Federal Appeal proce$$ is not worthy of the Greatest Country In The World! ***GREAT SOCIETIES THAT DO NOT PROTECT EVEN THEIR INNOCENT, BECOME THE GUILTY !

    A MUST READ ABOUT AMERICAN INJUSTICE:
    1) YAHOO 2) GOOGLE
    (MANNY GONZALES THE KID THAT EVERYONE FORGOT IN THE CA PRISON SYSTEM.) ** A JUDICIAL RIDE OF ONES LIFE !

    ***Someone please tell our US Congress that the GED degree that Manny Gonzales acquired in prison is not a LAW DEGREE !!!!!!

    lawyersforpooramericans@yahoo.com (424-247-2013)

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