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Amnesty Intl: Troy Davis Is Scheduled To Be Executed on 9/23

URGENT ACTION APPEAL
– From Amnesty International USA

To read the current Urgent Action newsletter, go to
http://www.amnestyusa.org/urgent/newslett.html
———————————-
For a print-friendly version of this Urgent Action (PDF):
http://www.amnestyusa.org/actioncenter/actions/uaa25008.pdf

09 September 2008

UA 250/08 Death penalty / Legal concern

USA (Georgia) Troy Anthony Davis (m), black, aged 40

Troy Davis is scheduled to be executed in Georgia at 7pm local time on 23 September. He has been on death row for 17 years for a murder he maintains he did not commit. He has a clemency hearing before the state Board of Pardons and Paroles on 12 September. It is not known when the Board will make its decision.
On 28 August 1991 Troy Davis was convicted of the murder of 27-year-old Officer Mark Allen MacPhail, white, who was shot and killed in the car park of a Burger King restaurant in Savannah, Georgia, in the early hours of 19 August 1989. Davis was also convicted of assaulting Larry Young, a homeless man, who was accosted immediately before Officer MacPhail was shot. At the trial, Troy Davis admitted that he had been at the scene of the shooting, but claimed that he had neither assaulted Larry Young nor shot Officer MacPhail.
There was no physical evidence against Troy Davis and the weapon used in the crime was never found. The case against him consisted entirely of witness testimony. In affidavits signed over the years since the trial, a majority of the state’s witnesses have recanted or contradicted their testimony. In addition, there is post-trial testimony implicating another man, Sylvester Coles, as the gunman.

In 1989, Kevin McQueen was detained in the same jail as Davis. McQueen told the police that during this time Troy Davis had confessed to shooting Officer MacPhail. In a 1996 affidavit, McQueen retracted this statement, saying that he had given it because he wanted to ‘‘get even’‘ with Davis following a confrontation he said the two of them had had. Monty Holmes testified against Troy Davis in a pre-trial hearing, but did not testify at the trial because, according to a 2001 affidavit, he did not want to repeat this false testimony. Jeffrey Sapp testified that Troy Davis had told him that he had shot the officer. Recanting his testimony in a 2003 affidavit, he stated that under ‘‘a lot of pressure’‘ from police, he had testified against Troy Davis.

At the trial, eyewitness Dorothy Ferrell identified Troy Davis as the person who had shot Officer MacPhail. In a 2000 affidavit, she stated that she had not seen who the gunman was, but testified against Davis out of fear that if she did not, because she was on parole at the time, she would be sent back to jail. In a 2002 affidavit, Darrell Collins, 16 years old at the time of the crime, said that the day after the shooting, 15 or 20 police officers came to his house, and “a lot of them had their guns drawn.” They took him in for questioning, and “after a couple of hours of the detectives yelling at me and threatening me, I finally broke down and told them what they wanted to hear. They would tell me things that they said had happened and I would repeat whatever they said…I testified against Troy at his trial… because I was still scared that the police would throw me in jail for being an accessory to murder if I told the truth about what happened…”

Larry Young, the man who was accosted on the night of the murder, implicated Troy Davis as the man who had assaulted him. His 2002 affidavit offers further evidence of a coercive police investigation into the murder of a fellow officer: “After I was assaulted that night … some police officers grabbed me and threw me down on the hood of the police car and handcuffed me. They treated me like a criminal; like I was the one who killed the officer … They made it clear that we weren’t leaving until I told them what they wanted to hear. They suggested answers and I would give them what they wanted. They put typed papers in my
face and told me to sign them. I did sign them without reading them.” In his 2002 affidavit he said that he “couldn’t honestly remember what anyone looked like or what different people were wearing.”

Antoine Williams, a Burger King employee, had just driven into the restaurant’s car park at the time the shooting occurred. At the trial, he identified Troy Davis as the person who had shot Officer MacPhail. In 2002 he stated that this was false, and that he had signed a statement for the police which he could not and did not read: “Even today, I know that I could not honestly identify with any certainty who shot the officer that night. I couldn’t then either. After the officers talked to me, they gave me a statement and told me to sign it. I signed it. I did not read it because I cannot read. At Troy Davis’s trial, I identified him as the person who shot the officer. Even when I said that, I was totally unsure whether he was the person who shot the officer. I felt pressured to point at him because he was the one who was sitting in the courtroom. I have no idea what the person who shot the officer looks like.”

On 17 July 2007, the state Board of Pardons and Paroles stayed Davis’s execution less than 24 hours before it was to be carried out. The Georgia Supreme Court then considered whether a trial-level judge had been wrong to dismiss Davis’s appeal for a new trial in 2007 without conducting a hearing. On 17 March 2008, in a 4-3 ruling, the state supreme court ruled that the lower court had not abused its discretion. The Chief Justice authored the dissenting opinion. She wrote that “this case illustrates that this Court’s approach
in extraordinary motions for new trials based on new evidence is overly rigid and fails to allow an adequate inquiry into the fundamental question, which is whether or not an innocent person might have been convicted or even, as in this case, might be put to death.” “In this case,’‘ she wrote, ‘‘nearly every witness who identified Davis as the shooter at trial has now disclaimed his or her ability to do so reliably. Three persons have stated that Sylvester Coles confessed to being the shooter. Two witnesses have stated
that Sylvester Coles, contrary to his trial testimony, possessed a handgun immediately after the murder. Another witness has provided a description of the crimes that might indicate that Sylvester Coles was the shooter.” While she said that such testimony might be discovered to lack credibility if heard at an evidentiary hearing, “the collective effect of all of Davis’s new testimony, if it were to be found credible by the trial court in a hearing, would show the probability that a new jury would find reasonable doubt of
Davis’s guilt or a least sufficient residual doubt to decline to impose the death penalty.” The dissenters argued that the trial court should be ordered to conduct the evidentiary hearing it denied in 2007.

Amnesty International opposes Troy Davis’s death sentence unconditionally, as it does all use of the death penalty. For a full report on this case, see USA: ‘Where is the justice for me?’ The case of Troy Davis, facing execution in Georgia, February 2007, http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AMR51/023/2007.

Since the USA resumed executions in 1977, 1,118 prisoners have been put to death, 42 of them in Georgia. More than 100 people have been released from death rows around the country on grounds of innocence, many of them in cases in which witness testimony has been shown to have been unreliable.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible:

– explaining that you are not seeking to condone the murder of Officer Mark Allen MacPhail, or to downplay the seriousness of the crime or the suffering caused;

– noting that most of the witnesses whose testimony was used against Troy Davis at his trial have since recanted or contradicted their testimony, and that there is new evidence against another suspect in the case;
– noting that three members of the Georgia Supreme Court, including the Chief Justice, dissented against the court’s refusal earlier this year to order a hearing on the post-conviction evidence of innocence;
– noting the large number of wrongful convictions in capital cases in the USA since 1976, and noting that unreliability of witness testimony has been a contributing factor in many of these cases;
– noting that the power of clemency in capital cases exists as a failsafe against irreversible error that the courts have been unable or unwilling to remedy;
– calling on the Board to commute the death sentence of Troy Davis.

APPEALS TO:
State Board of Pardons and Paroles
2 Martin Luther King
Jr. Drive, SE, Suite 458, Balcony Level, East Tower
Atlanta, Georgia 30334-4909
Fax: 1 404 651 8502
Email: Webmaster@pap.state.ga.us
Salutation: Dear Board members

PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY.
Please send as many appeals as possible before 12 September, but appeals may continue until 23 September.

———————————-
Tip of the Month:
Write as soon as you can. Try to write as close as possible to the date a case is issued.

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Amnesty International is a worldwide grassroots movement that promotes and defends human rights.

This Urgent Action may be reposted if kept intact, including contact information and stop action date (if applicable). Thank you for your help with this appeal.

Urgent Action Network
Amnesty International USA
600 Pennsylvania Ave SE 5th fl
Washington DC 20003
Email: uan@aiusa.org
http://www.amnestyusa.org/urgent/
Phone: 202.544.0200
Fax: 202.675.8566

One Response

  1. 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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