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Georgia's Board of Pardons Decision: Troy Davis

Dear SSSP Colleagues and Friends,

In the event that you do not know, I regret to inform you that the Georgia's pardons board has rejected clemency for death row inmate Troy Davis. The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles rejected Davis's request for clemency after hearing hours of testimony from his supporters and prosecutors. Mr. Davis is scheduled to be put to death Wednesday. The murder weapon was never found, and there was no DNA or other forensic evidence. He was convicted on the testimony of nine eyewitnesses, seven of whom recanted subsequent to the conviction, several claiming they were pressured by the police.

The parole board heard from one of the jurors, Brenda Forest, who originally recommended the death penalty for Davis. She told the Board that she no longer trusted the verdict or sentence. "I feel, emphatically, that Mr. Davis cannot be executed under these circumstances," she said, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The board also heard from Quiana Glover, who testified she had heard Coles confess in June 2009 to having been the killer, at a party where he had been drinking heavily. Even William S. Sessions, a former federal district judge in Texas and FBI director under Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton called for a stay, writing in an editorial piece,  "Serious questions about Mr. Davis' guilt, highlighted by witness recantations, allegations of police coercion, and a lack of relevant physical evidence, continue to plague his conviction.” He urged the state pardons board to commute the sentence to life in prison. None of this, and appeals by Amnesty International, mattered.

The SSSP never took the position that Mr. Davis was innocent. The position it took was that there was more than enough doubt to commute the sentence to life in prison. Unfortunately, the Board disagreed and it appears that our criminal justice failed in this instance. I’m proud of the fact that the SSSP took a position and that members wrote letters to the Board. I especially want to thank Jane Hood for her work on this case and for bringing it to our attention. My thoughts are with the families of Mr. Davis and Officer MacPhail, and I hope that the day will come when we as a society reject the death penalty as an acceptable form of punishment, as so many other nations around the world have.

Take care.

 

Héctor L. Delgado

Executive Officer

Posted Tuesday, 09/20/2011, 02:10 PM - Category: Member News