Troy Davis is an innocent man on Georgia's death row. In 1989, Troy was falsely accused of the murder of Savannah Police Officer Mark MacPhail. Since then, with the support of his loving family, he has been struggling to vindicate himself. There was no murder weapon or DNA to test. There was no physical evidence connecting Troy to the crime.
He was wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death in 1991 on the word of nine eyewitnesses and snitches, seven of whom have since admitted that their trial testimony was false or inaccurate. The two remaining witnesses include a man who has subsequently been identified as the actual killer and another man who candidly admitted his inability to identify the shooter when questioned by police on the night of the murder and, then again, a month later.
At trial, all the jurors had to go on was the virtually unchallenged false testimony of six eyewitnesses and three snitches. His court-appointed lawyers did not try to suppress the eyewitness evidence, nor did they present any expert testimony to explain the factors that contributed to the unreliability of this eyewitness and snitch testimony. They did not offer any affirmative evidence to show the inherent implausibility of the witnesses� claimed observations. One woman, for instance, stood at a distance of at least 160� away looking at four strangers for a few seconds in a poorly lit parking lot at one o�clock in the morning. Troy�s trial lawyers did not even bother to get the actual distance into record; though, based on her testimony, she was anywhere from 160� to 260�. According to the affidavits, the defense also never got around to conducting pre-trial interviews of key trial witnesses in this capital case. Perhaps that explains why the cross-examination of each of these vital witnesses was flawed in so many respects.
The government had no qualms about taking advantage of a poorly orchestrated defense as it brushed aside concerns over implausible eyewitness and snitch testimony. In his closing argument, the District Attorney assured the jurors that they could rely on the word of all these witnesses. With respect to the woman standing at least 160� away, the District Attorney said: "Of course, the Defense has raised issue [ ] about whether she could have seen what she said she saw. The point is that she said she saw it, and there�s no reason to doubt that she saw what she said she saw. There just simply isn�t any reason to doubt it. She�s got no reason to make it up." T. 1499.
The prosecutor knew at the time that some of the witnesses were alleging police intimidation and tried to recant at trial. Indeed, this very witness reportedly called the defense attorney�s home the night after she testified to let them know she committed perjury. Yet, the record strongly suggests that neither the prosecutors nor the defense attorneys ever �investigated� the police department�s investigation. The jurors decided the case based on a version of �facts� that the overzealous prosecutors and subpar defense attorneys presented to them.
But as each of the seven recanting trial witnesses came forward - all in their own time - a very consistent and logical explanation began to emerge. One recantation after another reported that heavy-handed police tactics and pressure caused the witnesses to falsely implicate Troy in the murder that another man committed. These recantations lend credence to other witnesses' earlier attempts to recant made at trial.
The result is that the evidence that was used to convict this innocent man has been largely repudiated. There simply is no credible evidence that points to Troy. On the contrary, since the trial, nine additional witnesses have implicated Redd Coles in the shooting. In fact, Redd is reported to have confessed on three separate occasions.
It took a lot of hard work and many years, but FINALLY the United States Supreme Court has ordered the District Court to hold an evidentiary hearing to consider Troy's evidence of innocence! There is still a long journey ahead - the opposition will likely push harder than ever to maintain the status quo. Your voice is still needed.
Does innocence matter in America Do you believe our constitution should protect the INNOCENT from being executed
If so, please sign this petition and circulate it to all your friends. Let the United States Supreme Court know that INNOCENCE MATTERS to you.
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This petition is sponsored by the Innocence Matters campaign. http://www.innocencematters.us/
The mission of Innocence Matters is to identify the innocent and help secure their freedom. Moreover, we seek to dispel the absurd myth that cases like Troy Davis' are flukes - i.e., rare, but unavoidable errors inherent in any human endeavor! Wrongful convictions occur as a result of a variety of systemic inadequacies including underfunded indigent criminal defense systems and prosecution zeal to fight for, and then defend, the conviction without careful examination of the integrity of their case. Convicting the innocent is preventable!
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