Troy Davis and Judge Moore: What Was the Evidence in this Case?

Troy Davis was executed by the State of Georgia, despite all the controversy surrounding whether or not this man was innocent of killing a police officer, long ago, in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant.  Since the execution, I've read all sorts of stuff on the web about this case - from Ann Coulter to Alec Baldwin - and it's left me wondering: okay, what WAS the evidence in this case?

Earlier, I posted what I understood to be accurate - that the majority of the eyewitnesses had recanted and that there was no physical evidence presented by the prosecution at the trial where Troy Davis was convicted.  Was this true?  (No.)

Also, I wrote that the United States Supreme Court had done something very unusual when they sent the case down for an evidentiary hearing before a district court judge (Judge William Moore of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia, Savannah Division).  As I recall, this was the first time that the High Court had done this in around 50 years.  The federal trial court judge would serve as a fact-finder, grading the papers of that Georgia jury. 

Interesting - a single federal judge given the opportunity to overturn a state jury.  Think about that, it's a big deal. 

So, after pondering all this, I went to the very long opinion that Judge Moore issued in that unusual hearing, and I have posted it at Google Docs for anyone who wants to read it (it's almost 150 pages, and it appears in two parts):

Judge Moore's Opinion re Troy Davis Part One;
Judge Moore's Opinion re Troy Davis Part Two.

The evidence that was considered in the Troy Davis case is presented at the beginning of this opinion.  After that, an analysis of that evidence under a "clear and convincing" standard is given; a standard not as stringent as that of "beyond a reasonable doubt," as discussed on page 80 of the Pattern Jury Instructions of the Eleventh Circuit.  (Judge Moore spends significant word count explaining the burden of proof he believes applies in his determinations.)

Bottom line, it is this opinion that I think everyone should be reading before they consider the words of political commentators - Judge Moore obviously wrote this opinion with the expectation that many eyes would be reading and reviewing his work. 

  • Was there physical evidence?  He discusses shell casings found at the scene of the crime.
  • Why wasn't he swayed by the eyewitnesses who recanted?  He goes into detail, witness by witness, regarding what they said then and now.

Did the State of Georgia execute an innocent man?  I don't know.  I do know that I learned something from this opinion and I wish I had read it, in all its details, long ago instead of reading a lot of the other stuff out there on this case. 

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