By Bruce Fischer
Troy Davis was convicted and sentenced to death in 1989 for the murder of Savannah police officer Mark MacPhail. Davis was convicted based exclusively on witness testimony. Since the time of his conviction, seven of the nine eyewitnesses who identified him as the shooter have recanted their testimony, and strong evidence now points to another man as the killer. Unfortunately, this information was not enough to stop Davis from being executed by the State of Georgia on September 21, 2011.
Cases like Troy Davis have played a major role in Injustice Anywhere’s decision to support abolishing capital punishment. There were far too many unanswered questions and far too much doubt to authorize the execution of Troy Davis.
On September 16, 2011, The Innocence Project spoke up for Troy Davis by sending a letter calling on the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles to commute Troy Davis’ death sentence to life due to serious questions about his guilt.
The letter analyzed the unreliable eyewitness evidence in Davis’ case and compared it with cases in which DNA evidence had overturned wrongful convictions. It read, in part:
“Troy Davis cannot count on DNA evidence to exonerate him, nor can he count on the courts to grant a reprieve. Given the significant doubts that remain about Troy Davis’ guilt in the murder of Officer MacPhail, we strongly urge the Board of Pardons and Paroles to exercise its ultimate power as a “fail-safe” to commute Troy Davis’ death penalty and prevent the imposition of the death penalty in a case that lacks any physical evidence and rests on eyewitness identifications that have every indicia of unreliability.”
Excerpt from the Amnesty International Report on the Case of Troy Davis
Where is the Justice for me?
A plea from Troy Davis
Where is the Justice for me? In 1989 I surrendered myself to the police for crimes I knew I was innocent of in an effort to seek justice through the court system in Savannah, Georgia USA. But like so many death penalty cases, that was not my fate and I have been denied justice. During my imprisonment I have lost more than my freedom, I lost my father and my family has suffered terribly, many times being treated as less than human and even as criminals. In the past, I have had lawyers who refused my input, and would not represent me in the manner that I wanted to be represented. I have had witnesses against me threatened into making false statements to seal my death sentence and witnesses who wanted, to tell the truth, were vilified in court.
For the entire two years, I was in jail awaiting trial I wore a handmade cross around my neck, it gave me peace and when a news reporter made a statement in the local news, “Cop-killer wears cross to court,” the cross was immediately taken as if I was unworthy to believe in God or him in me. The only time my family was allowed to enter the courtroom on my behalf was during the sentencing phase where my mother and sister had to beg for my life and the prosecutor simply said, “I was only fit for killing.” Where is the Justice for me, when the courts have refused to allow me relief when multiple witnesses have recanted their testimonies that they lied against me?
Because of the Anti-Terrorism Bill, the blatant racism and bias in the U.S. Court System, I remain on death row in spite of a compelling case of my innocence. Finally, I have a private law firm trying to help save my life in the court system, but it is like no one wants to admit the system made another grave mistake. Am I to be made an example of to save face? Does anyone care about my family who has been victimized by this death sentence for over 16 years? Does anyone care that my family has the fate of knowing the time and manner by which I may be killed by the state of Georgia?
I truly understand a life has been lost and I have prayed for that family just as I pray for mine, but I am Innocent and all I ask for is a True Day in a Just Court. If I am so guilty why do the courts deny me that? The truth is that they have no real case; the truth is I am Innocent.
Where is the Justice for me?
By Troy A. Davis