Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Yikes! Troy Anthony Davis Given Execution Date

Holy Cow! I missed it until alerted by The Skeptical Spouse.

Last Wednesday, Georgia scheduled the execution of Troy Anthony Davis for 21 September. That's barely a week away.

I have been looking into the case when I have a spare moment here and there. I recognized that it would be a complex case that would take me a long time to research and evaluate. I had checked the calendar, and didn't see Davis scheduled for this month or the next, so I had not worked on his case recently. Now suddenly, I am in danger of not being able to give the case the attention it deserves.

I'll summarize very quickly here, then get back to work on the case.  Davis was convicted of killing a police officer. He was convicted exclusively on eyewitness testimony. Almost all of the eyewitnesses, seven of them as I recall, have since recanted (to some degree) their identification of Davis as the shooter. The case has made it to the Supreme Court at least twice, which is unusal to say the least. The last time, the Supremes bounced it to a lower court to review the claims of actual innocence. That judge reviewed all the original identifications and the recantations, and concluded Davis was not innocent.

The case made it's way back to the State of Georgia, which scheduled his execution without giving me a heads up.

So far, I have just been trying to collect and organize the data and all the claims. I have yet to try to make sense of it. I honestly do not yet have an idea on whether or not I will oppose this execution. I have found one point that interests me that no one else seems to speak of.

Stay tuned.

Part 1 of my multi-part assessment of the case is now available, here.


Anonymous said...

Why no post on Steven Woods? His co-defendant pleaded guilty to killing both victims and received a life sentence. It's an important one, article on it here: http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,785821,00.html. Was kind of waiting for your comment on that one.

Anonymous said...

I'm wondering why there was no post on Steven Woods. "Marcus Rhodes, Wood's co-defendant and a former friend, has admitted to the double murder in question and already been sentenced -- but to life in prison. Rhodes' DNA was found on the weapons, but not that of Woods." - http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,785821,00.html

Emily said...

Did the judge actually conclude that Davis wasn't innocent or did he just find that Davis hadn't met the (perhaps impossibly high) bar to prove it? I think there's a meaningful distinction there. It's extraordinarily hard to prove you didn't do something, which is why the burden is generally the other way around.

tsj said...


Thanks for the link.

Regarding my failure to post on Steven Woods, I researched the case, found it would be difficult to summarize quickly, was daunted by my lack of time, and I cheaped out. My bad.

When and if I get a moment, I'll post posthoumously.

tsj said...

Judge Moore made clear that he believed Davis did not prove his innocence even when weighed against the easiest legal standard to be met. Also, after reading through the lengthy (and I mean lengthy) and complicated (and I mean complicated) ruling, my impression is that Judge Moore believed Davis to be factually guilty.

I believe Judge Moore did his job fairly, thoroughly, and rationally. I may or may not agree with his individual findings and his overall conclusion, but I respect him for his judicial temperment and his daring.

Most people don't realize it, but Judge Moore went where even the Supremes dared not tred. Judge Moore ruled, as part of his Davis decision, that it would be unconstitutional to execute an innocent person.

Anonymous said...

Thanks. Steven looks like a real case for innocence, worth a look.


Noam Chomsky (8/26/2011) – I think the death penalty is a crime no matter what the circumstances, and it is particularly awful in the Steven Woods case. I strongly oppose the execution of Steven Woods on September 13, 2011.

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