Supreme Court

Troy Davis Denied

|

Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court granted Georgia death row inmate Troy Davis a last-minute reprieve while the justices reviewed his case.

Davis was convicted of murdering a police officer in 1991 based on eyewitness testimony.  The problem is that seven of the nine people who testified against him at his trial have since recanted, saying they were pressured and coerced by the police.  Three other witnesses who did not testify at the trial have since come forward to say another man committed the murder—a man who happens to have been one of the two remaining witnesses against Davis who have yet to recant their testimony.

This morning, the Court denied Davis' appeal.  It doesn't look like Davis has many more options.

NEXT: Bush: Why My "Unprecedented and Aggressive" Nationalization Is Necessary

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. This is why no one lives in the south. I lived there and went north as soon as I could.

    Going down to georgia gonna get myself baptized in the bussom of the lord.

  2. Corruption of the criminal justice system is hardly an exclusively Southern phenomenon.

    I fear this may be the time when we finally *know* the state has executed an innocent man.

    I have no problem with the theoretical moral basis of executing a murder. The problem is that government incompetence and, at times, maliciousness has convinced me that there is no way so great a power can be entrusted to them. Or, for that matter, any group of human beings.

  3. When something like this is denied, is there something like an opinion saying “this is why we denied it”?

  4. Corruption of the criminal justice system is hardly an exclusively Southern phenomenon.

    No, it certainly isn’t. But substituting it for a lynch mob is.

  5. Free Hat!

  6. One of these days he’s going to pull a reverse Balko. Bad news, bad news, bad news… surprise!

    At least, I hope so.

  7. I’m appalled and disgusted by the court’s decision. How can apparent exonerating evidence just be ignored? If there’s no justice in this case there won’t be justice for all of us. Everybody could be in the same situation.

  8. I am beginning to think we are all pussies unless we start doing something about it that goes beyond discussing it on the internet or trying to convince irrational people to be rational.

  9. JCj,

    We are. But for now, if we actually do anything about it, we will be joining Troy.

    State terror has never been disproven, just discredited. . .

  10. If you can’t convince people to vote against Republocrats, violent revolution has no hope of success.

  11. this is just too sad…..just too sad….

  12. unfortunately this in part a southern phenomenon when the “southern value” system is presented to the country as an alternative to “northern liberal” ideology.

    When the values become immoral then the whole system becomes an immoral system. However it is depicted by those who propagate it as the pinnacle of morality. Creating confusion and immorality amongst the masses who otherwise might act in an level-headed manner.

  13. I feel like I know a murder is about to happen and our highest court has said it’s ok. Are there any explanations? Who said what to whom to convince the justices that this is a good idea? Who can live in a society that says it’s ok to execute a person, when there is so much doubt in said person’s guilt?

  14. what is even more perverse is the willingness of a prosecutor to continue to push for the DP despite circumstances which clearly* fail the evidentiary standard because despite the shortcomings, they, y’know, just know that he did it.

    *of course i’m referring to when the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard actually meant something. think of that standard for a minute — essentially it means that it would be nuts to think the person is something other than guilty. do prosecutors actually think that those who doubt his guilt are nuts? i’m not convinced that they do though, also, i’m not convinced that they care.

  15. Radley, One article said SCOTUS issued a one sentence statement. What was their reasoning?

  16. I don’t know the prosecutors in this case, but my experience with others (on the state and federal level) leads me to some conjectures.

    99% do care about guilt & innocence — on a factual level.

    The prosecutors in this case probably believe the defendant is factually guilty.

    Of course, as you all know, the state [and the lawyers who represent the state] should care about the law. Sadly, many of the state’s agents (most?) regard the law as an obstacle. They use tricks and cleverness to circumvent what they consider “loopholes” in their quest to ensure justice (read: punishment of the person or persons they believe guilty) is done. Since they don’t trust the system to get it right, they rig the game to produce an outcome they believe is correct. And, one must admit, they also (from time to time) rig outcomes to advance personal interest/ careers, etc.

    To understand the enemy psyche (vital, I think, to engineering their defeat), envision a man willing to ignore rules, lie, cheat, & steal to accomplish what he believes is right. In my experience, said characterization is more accurate than that of a mindless, cackling monster who cares not a fig about guilt + innocence.

    This is not to defend their actions, only to explain the mindset that (IMO) yields the calamitous result.

  17. You’d think Bush would be willing to do a pardon or commutation. It’s not like he has any political capital to lose on it.

    McCain’s already going to lose, so it wouldn’t matter if Georgians got mad and took it out on McCain.

    As it is, it’s likely that Bush’s time in office is going to do a slow fade like a nasty lingering fart. So why not do something that would actually make him look like a non-asshole?

  18. I know I’m late to this thread, but….what the fuck?

    Did the court give a reason for its decision not to review the case? Was there any physical evidence corroborating the prosecution’s case? If the conviction was based on eye witness testimony alone, how could they not thing it is worth review when most witnesses recanted and claimed they were pressured by the police!?

    This is a pretty fucking big deal if they’re going to execute this guy without knowing beyond a reasonable doubt that he’s guilty. This may be a good time for massive protests.

    We should demand that the authorities answer the question:

    How do you know he is guilty if most of the witnesses recanted?

  19. This is a state crime, the president can’t pardon or commute. Gov. Sonny Perdue may be able to, but it doesn’t look like he’s willing.

  20. Courts need legal justifications for doing what they do. We think this guy might be innocent doesn’t cut it. That’s not how the law works. Lawmakers recognized this flaw in the legal system, which is why every state has some form of pardon power to rectify just this type of situation. In Georgia, it doesn’t reside with the Governor, so don’t blame Sonny Perdue. There is nothing he can do about it. Georgia has a parole commission. If this guy is murdered, it will be on them. They are the only ones who have the legal authority to rectify the situation.

  21. Courts need legal justifications for doing what they do. We think this guy might be innocent doesn’t cut it. That’s not how the law works. Lawmakers recognized this flaw in the legal system, which is why every state has some form of pardon power to rectify just this type of situation. In Georgia, it doesn’t reside with the Governor, so don’t blame Sonny Perdue. There is nothing he can do about it. Georgia has a parole commission. If this guy is murdered, it will be on them. They are the only ones who have the legal authority to rectify the situation.

    I’m pretty sure that if new evidence has come up since the conviction, such that a jury might have decided differently if they heard that new evidence, the courts can order a new trial. Witnesses recanting sounds like it falls into this category

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.