Tomorrow night the State of Georgia will be putting Troy Davis to death for the 1989 murder of Savannah police officer Mark MacPhail. There was no physical evidence introduced at Davis's trial, no murder weapon, no video tape, no DNA evidence, no confession. Davis was convicted entirely on the testimony of nine eyewitnesses. Since the trial, seven of the witnesses have changed their stories and admitted that they lied. Two individuals testified at trial that Davis had confessed to them that he had murdered the police officer. Both of those individuals have since admitted that they lied. Ten witnesses have signed affidavits claiming that the police coerced them to lie and eight more have signed affidavits implicating another man in the murder. Davis has always maintained his innocence. The United States Supreme Court has already stopped his execution at least once by ordering that a Federal Judge hold a hearing to determine if there was sufficient evidence to sustain a conviction. The Federal Judge required that Davis prove his innocence at that hearing, a virtually impossible burden for a defendant to meet and a burden that has no basis in the United States Constitution. Even though the court found that Davis had not met his burden, it did find that the state's case was weak. Today the Georgia Board of Pardons turned down a request to stop Davis's execution. It appears as if Davis's appeals have been exhausted and there is no way to stop his execution, which is scheduled for 7 pm.
While there is no way to know for sure if Davis is guilty or innocent, there is no doubt that there are serious questions surrounding his case. The Death Penalty is the most serious penalty that society can impose on an individual and should only be reserved for those cases in which there is no doubt whatsoever about the guilt of the condemned. In its rush to execute Davis, Georgia may be doing more to eradicate the death penalty than they think. This is the type of case which will make people question how the United States of America can still be the only industrialized nation on the planet to execute its citizens.
Tomorrow the eyes of the world will be on Georgia as they may very well be putting an innocent man to death. In the meanwhile, America should bow its head in shame.
For more information about the Chicago criminal defense attorneys at Legal Defenders, P.C., visit us at www.thelegaldefenders.com or call us anytime at 1-800-228-7295.