Troy Davis & his family in a picture taken before the prison cut off "contact visits."
Readers of this blog will remember that I spent a few weeks this fall laser-focused on the case of Troy Davis, an innocent man on Georgia’s Death Row who, despite all evidence against him crumbling over the course of his incarceration, was executed on September 21. You can read the pieces I placed in The Atlantic online here: “Explaining the death penalty to my children” and here: “Troy Davis and the reality of doubt.” You’ll find the post I wrote the day after Troy was murdered here.
I spent several weeks laser-focused on the Troy Davis case, but some people have spent several years, such as my friend Jen Marlowe. Working with Amnesty International, she did everything from producing a powerful series of videos telling his story, to counting signatures calling for the state of Georgia to spare his life. She came to know and love the Davis family, and her work on their behalf continues — in no small part because their tragedies didn’t end with Troy’s execution.
Indeed, the tragedies didn’t even start there.
I’m thrilled to report that earlier today, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles was “swamped with Troy Davis petitions.” More than 650,000 signatures! (And I know one of the people who helped count!)
It’s not too late to add your name to the list (click here), and even if your name is already in the Board of Pardon’s offices, I have another petition for you to sign: This one is via Change.org and Mr. Davis’s younger sister Kimberly, and directed to Chatham Count DA Larry Chisholm. As District Attorney, Chisholm is in a position to request that the court withdraw the death warrant against Mr. Davis, which would of course be a very good thing. So far the petition has very few signatures (it was just put up this afternoon) — please swell those numbers, by signing (click here) and asking others to do the same.
ColorOfChange is one of the many organizations that’s been advocating for Troy Davis, and they’re fundraising to place ads in Georgia media, to spread the word about the hearing and execution date. If you’d like to help, click here (they’re on Facebook here). (h/t asiangrrlMN)
And of course Amnesty has been doing a hell of a job on Mr. Davis’s behalf, for years. A donation to Amnesty would not go awry, either – click here for that. (For more background, details, petitions and sign-on letters, click here). It’s not too late to make a real difference!
UPDATE: Many thanks to Glenn Greenwald, at Salon.com, for linking to this post in his piece “Cheering for state-imposed death.” The number of click-throughs to the various Amnesty petitions and sign-on letters has jumped exponentially since he linked, and it is my sincere hope that these additional names will serve to help Troy Davis win clemency.
Troy Davis in the Chatham County Superior Court during his trail in the shooting death of off-duty police officer Mark MacPhail. (AP Photo/Savannah Morning News)
Troy Davis, the death row inmate about whom I wrote last week, has been given an execution date of September 21.
I repeat: Mr. Davis is almost certainly innocent of the crime for which the state of Georgia wants to kill him.
There is no physical evidence connecting him to the crime, seven out of the nine eyewitnesses have recanted, stating that they had been pressured, coerced or frightened into testifying, and jury members have said flat out: “If I knew then what I know now, Troy Davis would not be on death row.”
I don’t post on Shabbat, and may not be around at all until after Labor Day, so quickly, before I take off:
- If you’re looking for information on Israel’s J14 social movement and the Million Person March slated for Saturday night, some good resources are: +972 Magazine, HaAretz, and Twitter — note: even if you’re not “on Twitter,” you can click through on these links to see what these folks are saying, and get to the sources to which they’re linking: @972mag, @j14ENG (an English-language aggregator/translator of many and varied j14 sources), @ibnezra, @DidiRemez, @myaguarnieri, @gershonbaskin, and (possibly) @acarvin.
- Please don’t forget Troy Davis. It is entirely likely that the State of Georgia will give Mr. Davis his execution date once the Labor Day holiday is behind us, and I repeat: Mr. Davis is almost certainly innocent of the crime for which the State of Georgia wants to kill him. Please, if you haven’t signed the Amnesty petition yet (click here), or are a member of the clergy or legal profession and haven’t yet joined the sign-on letters (click here) — please do so. A man’s life very literally hangs in the balance. It’s especially important to get the involvement of people in Georgia — please pass the word on!
Yesterday I wrote about Troy Davis and the fact that he has been sentenced to death for a murder that he almost certainly did not commit. Despite copious evidence pointing to Mr. Davis’s innocence, the state of Georgia will likely give him an execution date in September.
In that post, I asked that you watch a video and sign the Amnesty petition, but Jen Marlowe pointed out that if you are a legal professional or member of the clergy, you can take an extra, crucial step: Joining a sign-on letter to demonstrate that those most familiar with the law, and those most intimately attuned to this nation’s spiritual and ethical standards, support Mr. Davis in his request for clemency. Legal professionals can sign the appropriate letter by clicking here; members of the clergy can add their names by clicking here.
This cannot be stated baldly enough: Troy Davis may soon be put to death for a crime he almost certainly did not commit.
Please ask someone you know to join you in taking a stand.
Crossposted at Emily L. Hauser In My Head.
Let me get this out of the way: I am opposed to the death penalty under any circumstances. I think that Adolf Eichmann should have been allowed to rot in prison. I don’t think that killing people helps society in any way, if it’s not absolutely necessary for reasons of defense, and I don’t believe that the death penalty acts as any kind of deterrent.
And yet, I do understand the impulse behind the death penalty. Some people really have done monstrous things, and I can understand the desperate feeling that such monsters produce in our hearts, the horror, the sense that monsters do not deserve to live.
But at the very least, should we not be absolutely certain that the person about to be executed is, in fact, a monster? Did, in fact, do what we’re killing that person for doing?
Twenty years ago, Troy Davis was convicted of murdering Mark MacPhail, a police officer in Savannah, Georgia. There is no physical evidence tying Mr. Davis to Officer MacPhail’s murder, and seven of the nine non-law enforcement witnesses have recanted, saying, time and again, that they were frightened and coerced by police, and that moreover, they were terrified by the man they believe to have actually committed the crime. Mr. Davis has himself always maintained his innocence, and jurors have said, flat out: “If I knew then what I know now, Troy Davis would not be on death row.”