SAVANNAH, Ga. -- A Georgia man is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection on Tuesday for killing a police officer in 1989, even though the case against him has withered in recent years as most of the key witnesses at his trial have recanted and in some cases said they lied under pressure from police.
Prosecutors discount the significance of the recantations and argue that it is too late to present such evidence. But supporters of Troy Davis, 38, and some legal scholars say the case illustrates the dangers wrought by decades of Supreme Court decisions and new laws that have rendered the courts less likely to overturn a death sentence.
Three of four witnesses who testified at trial that Davis shot the officer have signed statements contradicting their identification of the gunman. Two other witnesses -- a fellow inmate and a neighborhood acquaintance who told police that Davis had confessed to the shooting -- have said they made it up.
Other witnesses point the finger not at Davis but at another man. Yet none has testified during his appeals because federal courts barred their testimony.
"It's getting scary," Davis said by phone last week. "They don't want to hear the new facts."
The problem with streamlining justice is that just maybe you're left with something less than justice.
Every time I read a case like this my opposition to the death penalty gets stronger, however long an innocent person spends in prison, they are still alive and can be compensated in some way, but you can not compensate an innocent corpse.
And then there is this: "I believe police did their job correctly and found the right man," the slain officer's son, Mark MacPhail Jr., told reporters after his family addressed the board.
MacPhail said he told the board what it was like to grow up without a father. The son, now 18, was less than 2 months old when his father was killed.
So MacPhail is in absolutely in no position to judge the credibility of the one remaining witness who identifies Davis.but he wants blood on general principles.His claim for revengeance holds little more validity than the Durhamites who want to convict a Dukie because of all those alleged rapes a hundred and fifty years ago. We live in a society where the number of repellent,or at least quite unsympathetic ,"victims" seems to multiply by the hour.
The Troy Davis thread is continued in the Current Section. Davis is slated to die on Sept.23. He has twice lost by a 4-3 vote in the Georgia Supreme Court.The Chief Justice strongly dissenting on both occasions. Your signatures are desperately needed .It is a travesty of justice if Davis dies without a full iinvestigation into how the witnesses were procured.