Posted on Amnesty International’s Facebook page yesterday:
The struggle for justice doesn’t end with me. This struggle is for all the Troy Davises who came before me and all the ones who will come after me. I’m in good spirits and I’m prayerful and at peace. But I will not stop fighting until I’ve taken my last breath.
Larry Chisolm, Chatham County District Attorney
The latest on Troy Davis:
Earlier this evening, a commenter on my new piece at TheAtlantic.com called my attention to the fact that the Chatham County District Attorney’s office had just issued a press release saying the the Georgia state Superior Court, not the district attorney’s office, is the only body with jurisdiction in the execution and that “this matter is beyond our control.”
This frankly stank to me of the DA trying to duck the responsibility and political mess that this case entails, so I called my source within the campaign for clemency and had it confirmed: Larry Chisolm is trying to evade what is certainly going to be a terrible shitstorm, no matter what he does. But he still has the authority to ask that the Superior Court withdraw the death warrant against Davis, whether he wants to admit it or not.
And so, after not being able to get through to his office all day by phone, I wrote up a fax which I am now trying to send (oddly enough, the DA’s fax line is also very very busy!). You’ll find what I wrote after the jump – feel free to use it was a template, but make sure to make the letter your own — and also make sure to not focus on the question of Davis’s innocence, but rather on the enormous holes in the case (you’ll note that I even went so far as to bold, underline and slightly enlarge that line in my letter).
One last note: The article which reports the press release also reports that “Sister Jackie Griffith with Savannah for Clemency for Troy Davis, announced Tuesday evening her group would deliver 240,000 signatures on a petition to Chatham County District Attorney Larry Chisolm.” That is not meaningless.
I am proud to say that I have placed another essay about Troy Davis in TheAtlantic.com, where it will hopefully reach more eyes and do more good. I’m beside myself, and all I can do is write. “All I have is a voice/To undo the folded lie… No one exists alone;/Hunger allows no choice/To the citizen or the police;/We must love one another or die.”
Again, here’s the top – please click through to read the rest, and give The Atlantic the love it really, really deserves.
“Whether the trial witnesses against [Troy Davis] were lying then or are lying now, by fighting against his requested relief Georgia is saying that its interest in the finality of its capital judgments is more important than the accuracy of its capital verdicts.”
Andrew Cohen, who has served as chief legal analyst and legal editor for CBS News, wrote those words regarding death row inmate Troy Davis on TheAtlantic.com yesterday. They come near the end of a vitally important essay in which Cohen spells out “how far we have to go toward fair and accurate capital punishment in America.” I read them over and over, because as a person who has been advocating for Davis’s clemency bid, they struck me as frighteningly true.
VERY IMPORTANT UPDATE: Within moments of my posting this, I learned that Amnesty hasn’t given up yet — because they’re Amnesty and they don’t give up. Here’s the petition to sign, demanding that Chatham County (Savannah) District Attorney Larry Chisolm “seek a withdrawal of the death warrant and support clemency himself” (last week, I asked you to sign a Change.org petition to the same effect — please sign this one, too). If you don’t manage to sign right away, please try again. And/or call or fax the Chatham County’s District Attorney’s office – phone: 912-652-7308 / fax: 912-652-7328.
I’m also going to be making a donation to Amnesty today — if you can do likewise, I urge you to do so. They are doing God’s own work here on earth.
I’m beside myself, so full of shame of my country and my countrymen. That people engaged in the administration of justice, entrusted with upholding our laws and protecting our lives, could allow the death sentence to go forward in a case that is so thoroughly riddled with doubt is beyond me.
I feel such ache and horror for Mr. Davis’s family, and find I am suddenly glad that his mother died last spring, of a broken heart her daughters believe, because at least she won’t actually see her boy killed. I thought of this as I sent my boy to school today: Troy Davis was once a boy, on his way to school. And tomorrow, at 7:00 pm EST, he, too, will be a murder victim — only the murderers will be the people meant to protect him.
I am ashamed, ashamed, ashamed. What is wrong with this country? What is wrong with us? As Andrew Cohen, chief legal analyst and legal editor for CBS News wrote in The Atlantic yesterday:
Whether the trial witnesses against him were lying then or are lying now, by fighting against his requested relief Georgia is saying that its interest in the finality of its capital judgments is more important than the accuracy of its capital verdicts.
Here’s The Guardian’s report on the decision:
The clemency hearing is underway, apparently very much as we speak — from the Savannah Morning News:
The Board of Pardons and Paroles began hearing from attorneys and family members of condemned murderer Troy Davis at 9 a.m. Monday as about 60 protesters demonstrated outside the building.
The five-member board is the last hope for Davis and his supporters since multiple appeals have exhausted his legal options. The board, though, isn’t bound by the precedent or the procedures of the courts and can base its decision on whatever it chooses.