The Troy Davis Case Worries Me

Troy Davis sits on Death Row in Georgia, and he may well be executed by the State of Georgia ... which to someone like me, sitting here in Texas, isn't that big of a news event. Sorry, but you know what I mean. I'm in TEXAS.

Except here's the thing: Troy Davis may well be innocent, and he's asking for a new trial -- with the U.S. Supreme Court putting off a decision on granting writ until next fall.

Innocent? Well, there's no physical evidence. Seven of the nine witnesses have recanted their testimony, and one of the two still holding onto Troy as the shooter is, according to rumor, the man that might well be the real killer.

Sounds like a Lifetime movie in the making.

So, no forensic evidence. 7 of the 9 eyewitnesses are saying nevermind. On the other hand, death.

I'm voting new trial. Hope the Supremes do too.

For more info, check out Free Troy Davis.


dudleysharp said...

Troy Davis: Both sides need to be told
Dudley Sharp

Anyone interested in justice will demand a fair, thorough look at both sides of this or any case. Here is the side that the pro Troy Davis faction is, intentionally, not presenting.

(1) Davis v Georgia, Georgia Supreme Court, 3/17/08
Full ruling http://www.gasupreme.us/pdf/s07a1758.pdf
Summary http://www.gasupreme.us/op_summaries/mar_17.pdf

" . . . the majority finds that 'most of the witnesses to the crime who have allegedly recanted have merely stated that they now do not feel able to identify the shooter.' "One of the affidavits 'might actually be read so as to confirm trial testimony that Davis was the shooter.' "

The murder occurred in 1989.

(2) "THE PAROLE BOARD'S CONSIDERATION OF THE TROY ANTHONY DAVIS CASE" , 9/22/08, http://www.pap.state.ga.us/opencms/opencms/

"After an exhaustive review of all available information regarding the Troy Davis case and after considering all possible reasons for granting clemency, the Board has determined that clemency is not warranted."

"The Board has now spent more than a year studying and considering this case. As a part of its proceedings, the Board gave Davis’ attorneys an opportunity to present every witness they desired to support their allegation that there is doubt as to Davis’ guilt. The Board heard each of these witnesses and questioned them closely. In addition, the Board has studied the voluminous trial transcript, the police investigation report and the initial statements of all witnesses. The Board has also had certain physical evidence retested and Davis interviewed."

(3) A detailed review of the extraordinary consideration that Davis was given for all of his claims,
by Chatham County District Attorney Spencer Lawton http://tinyurl.com/46c73l

Troy Davis' claims are undermined, revealing the dishonesty of the Davis advocates . Look, particularly, at pages 4-7, which show the reasoned, thoughtful and generous reviews of Davis' claims, as well a how despicable the one sided cynical pro Troy Davis effort is.

(4) Officer Mark Allen MacPhail: The family of murdered Officer MacPhail fully believes that Troy Davis murdered their loved one and that the evidence is supportive of that opinion. http://www.markallenmacphail.com/

Not simply an emotional and understandable plea for justice, but a detailed factual review of the case.

Theresa said...

Reba! I got an email asking for my signature to stop this execution. I googled for information and was happy to find your post. If you're behind this i am as well, clicking the signed button now.

Reba Kennedy said...

Hi Theresa,

Long time no chat - hope things are going well with you!

As for the Troy Davis matter, of course more has happened since I wrote this post.

Think I'll write an update this week ... execution is scheduled for September 21st, and in the hearing that was held after the US Supreme Court did its thing, apparently the trial judge found the arguments that Dudley Sharp pointed out (above comment) to be persuasive.

Things do look grim for Troy Davis at this juncture, I admit. Of course, there's always a chance that 9/21 won't hold -- and there's always hope, just look at the West Memphis Three....

More later, thanks so much for writing Theresa!!!!!

Reba Kennedy said...

Hi Dudley,

Sorry to not have thanked you in a timely manner, but did want to write and say that I do appreciate your taking the time to write a comment here, and your info that you've shared is appreciated.

Thank you.

dudleysharp said...

you're welcone.

An update

Based upon the evidence presented in the June, 2010 hearing, it was clear that the federal district court would rule against Davis and that SCOTUS would not intervene.

This shouldn't have come as a surprise to anyone that knew the facts of the case.

Anti death penalty folks, were, of course, fed a bunch of nonsense by their leadership and they simply accepted it.

As I wrote 6/25/10

Innocence claims will offer no reprieve for Troy Davis
Dudley Sharp

Based upon the media reports, alone, of the two day hearing of June 2010, just as I suspect Davis' attorneys have known all along, the appellate case cannot prevail in overturning the findings that Troy

Davis is guilty of the murder of Police Officer Mark Allen MacPhail.

What happened in the two day hearing was very ordinary, if you are aware of anti death penalty nonsense. (1)

Sylvester "Redd" Coles' "Confessions"

The blockbuster witnesses who were going to testify that the "real murderer" Sylvester "Redd" Coles had confessed to them were not allowed to testify, because Davis' attorneys refused to call Coles to testify, thereby rendering these witnesses in possession of hearsay evidence and, therefore, not able to testify.

Well, Judge Moore did allow, wrongly, one of them, Anthony Hargrove, to testify. The judge "said that unless Coles is called to the stand, he might give (Hargrove's) hearsay testimony "no weight whatsoever."

Of course, Davis' attorneys didn't call Coles. Davis' attorneys made sure Hargrove's testimony as well as the other "confession" witnesses will have no weight.

This will become part of the anti death penalty PR machine - the anti death penalty folks will blame the system for not allowing the "truth" to come out, by muzzling these witnesses, even though Davis' attorneys had to do this intentionally, knowing that the witnesses couldn't be heard, because of the hearsay rule.

The defense couldn't call Coles, because he would have been a strong witness to rebut his alleged confessions, therefore making things worse for Davis. I seems obvious that the defense made a statement as to how fragile and unreliable these "confession" witnesses were that Davis' attorneys refused to call Coles.

Hargrove being wrongly allowed to testify must have been a surprise.

"Recantation" Witnesses

The additional problem for Davis is this: There are solid witnesses against Davis who did not recant.

The recantation witnesses claims that the police pressured or threatened them into falsely testifying make no sense.


dudleysharp said...


First, there were enough witnesses against Davis - the state had a solid case - therefore there was no reason to put lying witnesses on the stand. Even if we presume that some were pressured and threatened into false statements, both police and prosecutors knew, before trial, that they need not risk putting any such perjuring witnesses on the stand. They had enough evidence without them.

Why risk perjured testimony when you don't need it? They wouldn't have.

Secondly, the non recantation witnesses, the police investigators, and prosecutors have been consistent from the beginning of the case - those witnesses haven't recanted, and police and prosecutors have testified that there were no threats or pressure for false testimony and those consistent, non recanting witnesses gave truthful statements without pressure or threats.

Thirdly, there is no evidence that the investigating officers or the prosecutors had ever been involved in such illegal activities before and the non recantation witnesses give more weight to the position that police and prosecutors did not pressure or threaten for false testimony and to the proposition that the recantations were the lies.

Judges are very aware of false testimony and how pressure can be applied to produce it, by community activists, such as anti death penalty folks.

Judges are aware that pressure is a two sided coin and they must consider both sides of it and how that may effect credibility. In a case such as this, the evidence is such that

Davis cannot prevail.

Credibility - this says it all.

"(Troy) Davis' legal team also summoned Benjamin Gordon, who testified that he saw Sylvester "Redd" Coles shoot and kill the officer." (2)

Gordon, who is incarcerated and has at least six prior felony convictions, said he never came forward because he did not trust the police and feared what Coles might do to him or his family in retaliation.

"Is there any doubt in your mind that Redd Coles fired that shot?" Horton asked. "No, sir," Gordon replied.

Davis' legal team has long maintained that Coles, who was at the scene and came forward after (Police Officer) MacPhail's slaying and implicated Davis to police, was the actual triggerman. Coles has denied shooting MacPhail.

Beth Attaway Burton, the state's lead attorney, got Gordon to acknowledge he never said he saw Coles shoot MacPhail in interviews with police "or in sworn statements he gave Davis' legal team in 2003 and 2008."

"What made you change your story today?" Burton asked.

"It's the truth," Gordon said. "

I think the judge will have to weigh Gordon's credibility similarly to that of Davis' other supportive witnesses - ZERO.


Note: We will hear protests that Davis' attorneys tried to subpoena Coles the day before the hearing, but couldn't locate him. The judge didn't buy it saying that there was no excuse based upon them having much time to prepare for the hearing. It's clear they didn't want Coles. When Davis loses this appeal, he will then appeal to a higher court, which will uphold the denial.

(1) 3 of many

"The Innocent Executed: Deception & Death Penalty Opponents"

The 130 (now 139) death row "innocents" scam

"Cameron Todd Willingham: Another Media Meltdown", A Collection of Articles

(2) All quotes from this article:

"Witnesses back off testimony against Troy Davis", The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, June 23, 2010 www(DOT)ajc.com/news/atlanta/witnesses-back-off-testimony-555778.html?cxntlid=daylf_artr