by Melanie Wilmoth
In the wake of the announcement that Troy Davis’ execution is scheduled for September 21, several US Congress members are seeking clemency for Mr. Davis.
Fifty-one Congress members, all Democrats, have signed a letter addressed to the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles stating that “considerable doubts as to Troy Davis’ guilt remain.”
The evidence against Mr. Davis is questionable at best. As Congress members point out:
“Several witnesses testified at the evidentiary hearing that they had been coerced into making statements implicating Troy Davis at trial. At the hearing, one witness testified for the first time that he saw another suspect in the case commit the crime. The credibility of various witnesses was challenged by the state of Georgia, and the judge in that case agreed. Many of these same witnesses, whose credibility is now questioned, were essential to obtaining Troy Davis’ original conviction.”
Despite claims of coercion, questions about witness credibility, and 7 of 9 witnesses recanting their testimony, Troy Davis is still considered guilty and set to be executed.
Congress members are not the only people speaking out against this injustice. Other world leaders, artists, and public figures have joined the fight as well.
By Jim Galloway, Political Insider
The Georgia members of Congress have asked the state Board of Pardons and Paroles to grant clemency for Troy Davis, who is scheduled to face execution next week the 1989 killing of off-duty Savannah Police Officer Mark Allen MacPhail.
Hank Johnson of Decatur, John Lewis and David Scott of Atlanta, and Sanford Bishop of Albany, all Democrats, put their signatures to the letter that can be read here. A total of four dozen members of Congress signed.
Among the letter’s points:
“It is clear now that the doubts plaguing Davis’s case can never be adequately addressed; the lack of hard scientific or relevant physical evidence has made it impossible to resolve with any degree of certainty.
“Over the last four years, the inability of our courts to resolve these uncertainties has shaken public confidence in our judicial system, and an execution under such a cloud of doubt would do nothing but further undermine that confidence. Public faith in the integrity of justice in Georgia is at stake and it is for this reason that we urge you to grant clemency for Troy Davis.”
Many others have argued for a commutation of Davis’s death sentence, including former President Jimmy Carter.
Worth noting is the absence of a signature from one Georgia Democrat — John Barrow — on the letter mentioned above.