Join us and our allies on Tuesday, June 22, 2010 from 5 – 7 pm at Victor Steinbrueck Park, just north of Pike Place Market, for a vigil and rally in support of Troy Davis.
Amnesty International Group 4 – Seattle, the Washington Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Seattle King County Branch, and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Washington are joining a global day of solidarity for Troy Davis. Troy Davis is a man with a compelling case of innocence that raises critical questions about the death penalty and the larger criminal justice system. He has been on death row for more than 18 years for the murder of police officer Mark Allen MacPhail in Savannah, Georgia. Davis has faced execution three times and was less than two hours from execution at one point.
– There was no physical evidence against Troy Davis
– The weapon used in the crime was never found
– The case against him consists entirely of witness testimony
– Seven of the nine non-police witnesses have recanted or contradicted their testimony
– Many of the witnesses have stated that they were pressured or coerced by police
– One of the two witnesses who has not recanted or contradicted testimony is the principal alternative suspect, who turned Troy Davis in, and the other can only be sure of the color of a t-shirt
– Nine individuals have signed affidavits implicating the alternative suspect
In the 1990s, when Davis needed investigation and work done on his appeals, the office representing death row inmates got a 2/3 budget cut – leaving just two lawyers to defend about 80 people on death row in Georgia. “I desperately tried to represent Mr. Davis during this period, but the lack of adequate resources and the numerous intervening crises made that impossible … We were simply trying to avert total disaster rather than provide any kind of active or effective representation.” –Lawyer working on Troy Davis’ state appeals.
There has not been an evidentiary hearing in a federal appeals court to examine the new witness testimony. However, on August 17, 2009, the US Supreme Court ordered that such a hearing take place in Savannah’s federal district court to review evidence of Davis’ innocence. The evidentiary hearing will begin on Wednesday, June 23 at 10am and could be as short as one day and as long as a few days. It is unclear what the judge could do at the conclusion of the hearing.
It is important to note that the evidentiary hearing is not a new trial. Davis is presumed guilty and the burden rests on him to “clearly establish his innocence”, whereas in a new trial, he would be presumed innocent and the state would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury that he is guilty. If the judicial system continues to focus on procedures and technicalities instead of the fundamental issue of innocence, Davis is at risk of a fourth execution date. We must prevent his execution and ensure justice for Troy Davis!
All are encouraged to attend this important event to take action and show support.