Allison Kilkenny: Unreported

Help Save Troy Davis’s Life!

Posted in Uncategorized by allisonkilkenny on October 17, 2008

Amnesty International:

Help Save Troy Anthony Davis’ Life

Troy Anthony Davis has been languishing on Georgia’s death row for over 15 years for purportedly killing an off-duty police officer. There are serious questions about his guilt given that:

  • There is no physical evidence linking him to the offense, and no murder weapon has been found.
  • Eyewitnesses have recanted their stories.
  • There are accusations of police intimidation of witnesses.

On Monday, October 13, 2008, the Supreme Court of the United States declined to review his appeal, and a warrant of execution has been issued.

Take Action: Urge the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles to Commute the Death Sentence of Troy Anthony Davis.

Here are excerpts from the affidavits of witnesses who changed the testimony they had given at Troy’s trial:

“[The police] were telling me that I was an accessory to murder and that I would … go to jail for a long time and I would be lucky if I ever got out, especially because a police officer got killed…I was only sixteen and was so scared of going to jail.”

“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 … I was totally unsure whether he was the person who shot the officer. I felt pressured to point at him … I have no idea what the person who shot the officer looks like.”

“The police came and talked to me and put a lot of pressure on me…. They wanted me to tell them that Troy confessed to me about killing that officer. The thing is, Troy never told me anything about it. I got tired of them harassing me …. I told them that Troy did it, but it wasn’t true.”

“[T]here was and is no doubt in my mind that the person who shot the officer had the gun in and was shooting with his left hand.”  Davis is right-handed.

Take Action: Urge the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles to Commute the Death Sentence of Troy Anthony Davis.

Severe cuts to Georgia’s legal defense resources meant that two lawyers represented close to 160 people on death row, including Davis, when he needed critical work done for his appeals.  Also, in 1996, Congress passed the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, which increased restrictions on appeals.  No court would hear the new evidence – the witness recantations.  Davis was turned down throughout his appeals, including at the US Supreme Court.

Davis came within 23 hours of execution in July, 2007. Then, the Georgia Supreme Court said it would consider his “extraordinary motion for a new trial” appeal in August, 2007 and held a hearing in November.  On March 17, 2008, the court rejected his appeal on “overly rigid” (dissenting Judge Sears) technicalities setting an impossibly high bar for the recantations to be considered.

Troy needs your help!  Please send a message to the Georgia Department of Pardons & Paroles, and urge your friends to do the same.

Amnesty International Decries U.S. Supreme Court Decision to Deny Troy Davis Petition

Posted in racism, Supreme Court by allisonkilkenny on October 14, 2008

Amnesty International Press Release
Tuesday, October 14, 2008        

Amnesty International Decries U.S. Supreme Court Decision
to Deny Troy Davis Petition
Failure to Consider the Evidence Is “Shocking,” Says Human Rights Organization

Contact:  Wende Gozan at (212) 633-4247 or Jared Feuer at (404) 876-5561 x14

(Washington, D.C.) –Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) decried today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision to deny a new hearing for Georgia death-row inmate Troy Anthony Davis.  The Court had granted Davis a stay of execution just hours before he was scheduled to be put to death while it decided whether to hear the case.  In denying Davis’ petition for a writ of certiorari, the Court has effectively ended a longstanding battle to have new evidence in Davis’ favor heard in a court of law.

“The Supreme Court’s decision is truly shocking, given that significant evidence of Davis’ innocence will never have a chance to be examined,” said Larry Cox, executive director for AIUSA.  “Faulty eyewitness identification is the leading cause of wrongful convictions, and the hallmark of Davis’ case.  This was an opportunity for the Court to clarify the constitutionality of putting the innocent to death – and in Davis’ case, his innocence could only be determined with a new hearing or trial.”

“It is disgraceful that the highest court in the land could sink so low when doubts surrounding Davis’ guilt are so high,” Cox added.

The U.S. Supreme Court denied Davis’ petition for writ of certiorari that was submitted on constitutional grounds of due process and cruel and unusual punishment violations if an individual is put to death despite significant claims to innocence.   Davis’ attorneys filed the petition after the Georgia Supreme Court’s narrow 4-3 ruling to deny Davis an evidentiary hearing last March; the ruling was based on technicalities rather than basic questions of guilt and innocence.

Davis was convicted in 1991 of killing Savannah police officer Mark Allen MacPhail.  Authorities failed to produce a murder weapon or any physical evidence tying Davis to the crime.  In addition, seven of the nine original state witnesses have since recanted or changed their initial testimonies in sworn affidavits.  One of the remaining witnesses is alleged to be the actual perpetrator.

Since the launch of its February 2007 report, Where Is the Justice for Me? The Case of Troy Davis, Facing Execution in Georgia, Amnesty International has campaigned intensively for a new evidentiary hearing or trial and clemency for Davis, collecting well over 200,000 clemency petition signatures and letters from across the United States and around the world.  To date, internationally known figures such as Pope Benedict XVI, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter have all joined the call for clemency, as well as lawmakers from within and outside of Georgia.

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 2.2 million supporters, activists and volunteers who campaign for universal human rights from more than 150 countries. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.

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For more information about the Troy Davis case, please visit: