Troy Davis And Faulty Witness IDs

In this picture, the tiny figure in the parking lot across the street is approximately where Troy Davis was, and the camera is approximately where Dorothy Farrell was, when, according to her trial testimony, she saw his face at 1:30 am. (She, like most of the witnesses, has since recanted).

© Jen Marlowe

“[J]uries tend to ‘over believe’ eyewitness testimony”. So says the American Psychological Association in its amicus brief  for an upcoming U.S. Supreme Court case.  And Adam Liptak in the New York Times writes:

“ … it is perilous to base a conviction on a witness’s identification of a stranger. Memory is not a videotape. It is fragile at best, worse under stress and subject to distortion and contamination.”

This view is borne out by over 2,000 studies during the past 3 decades.
So should our courts finally start approaching eyewitness testimony with a higher degree of skepticism?  This is the question raised in the new U.S. Supreme Court case, Perry v. New Hampshire, that will be heard on November 2.  The New Jersey Supreme Court has already decided that something should be done about the “troubling lack of reliability in eyewitness identifications.”

What does this mean for Troy Davis, whose conviction and death sentence were based almost exclusively on witness testimony?  After all, many of those witnesses identified him from a photo array after his picture had been plastered all over the media, just the kind of “suggestive circumstances” that are now at issue in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Doubts about the reliability of the witnesses used to convict Troy Davis, and the quality of the investigation that produced those witnesses, are only heightened as we learn more about the unreliability of witness testimony itself.  Yet another reason his execution must not be carried out.

Watch and share this video series to find out more about Troy Davis:

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12 thoughts on “Troy Davis And Faulty Witness IDs

  1. Why did Officer MacPhail chase after Davis and not Coles? Who shot Cooper that same night with the same gun that shot Officer MacPhail? It wasn't Coles but Davis who was rightly convicted of that crime. Why was there blood spatters on Davis' shorts? Why did Davis flee to Atlanta? Why did Davis tell others he shot MacPhail multiple times to "finish the job." Why did Davis plea, "Spare my life, that's all I ask" at sentencing? Why did it take two years for the recantations to start showing up? Why did most witnesses who "recanted" refuse to testify at the special hearing? "Smoke and mirrors" is right! This guy is GUILTY as sin.

  2. Why did Officer MacPhail chase after Davis and not Coles? Who shot Cooper that same night with the same gun that shot Officer MacPhail? It wasn’t Coles but Davis who was rightly convicted of that crime. Why was there blood spatters on Davis’ shorts? Why did Davis flee to Atlanta? Why did Davis tell others he shot MacPhail multiple times to “finish the job.” Why did Davis plea, “Spare my life, that’s all I ask” at sentencing? Why did it take two years for the recantations to start showing up? Why did most witnesses who “recanted” refuse to testify at the special hearing? “Smoke and mirrors” is right! This guy is GUILTY as sin.

  3. The State Of Georgia has a criminal injustice system that is flawed by the very nature that one so charged with a crime (especially blacks and minorities), ONE is automatically guilty by the media and anyone working in State Government, the Bar Association, the Courts AND IN MOST CASES THE AVERAGE CITIZEN, who feels the "if he were not guilty of something, he be locked up or they wouldn't be on trial. "IN GEORGIA AND AROUND THE COUNTRY, YOU ARE GUILTY UNLESS YOU CAN PROVE YOUR SELF INNOCENT, AND FOR MOST BLACKS AND MINORITIES, THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS RESONABLE DOUBT. IF ONE CAN'T AFFORD TO PAY FOR JUSTICE, YOU DON'T GET IT AND THAT IS BECAUSE GEORGIA LAW AND GOVERNMENT IS BASE SOLELY ON A RACIST KLU KLUX KLAN MENTALITY LEGAL SYSTEM, THAT IS IN POWER IN ALL PARTS OF GOVERNMENT IN THE STATE OF GEORGIA, ESPECIALLY THE COURTS. WHEN THE KKK WHO WERE HEAD QUARTERED ATOP STONE MOUNTAIN UP TO AS LATE AS 1996, JUST BEFORE THE OLYMPICS, WANTED TO TAKE COUNTER MEASURES AGAINST THE CIVILS RIGHTS ACTS OF THE 1960's AND OTHER FEDERAL EQUAL RIGHTS LAWS. THESE MEMBER'S OF THE MOST NOTORIOUS HATE GROUP ON AMERICAN (ORIGINAL INDIAN) SOIL, DECIDED TO CONTINUE THEIR LYNCHINGS LEGALLY IN THE GOVERNMENT, LAW ENFORCEMENT AND THE COURTS, by handing out and passing racially influenced morally illegal laws and policy. The fact that some 7 or more blacks who have in access of 20 years for crimes they did not commit is proof that some have been executed for crimes they did not commit. I also have proof juries in the state of Georgia and more than likely across the country are set up so as to find one guilty regardless of the facts of a case or the accused innocence or guilt. Court reporters also alter transcripts and testimony for the purpose of covering up malicious prosecutions and deliberate errors by the judges, prosecutors and public defenders who only pretend to represent clients, for profit and benefit of the IMMORAL STATE of GEORGIA THAT ONLY PASSES LAWS TO PROFIT OFF OF PEOPLES PROBLEMS.

  4. The State Of Georgia has a criminal injustice system that is flawed by the very nature that one so charged with a crime (especially blacks and minorities), ONE is automatically guilty by the media and anyone working in State Government, the Bar Association, the Courts AND IN MOST CASES THE AVERAGE CITIZEN, who feels the “if he were not guilty of something, he be locked up or they wouldn’t be on trial. “IN GEORGIA AND AROUND THE COUNTRY, YOU ARE GUILTY UNLESS YOU CAN PROVE YOUR SELF INNOCENT, AND FOR MOST BLACKS AND MINORITIES, THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS RESONABLE DOUBT. IF ONE CAN’T AFFORD TO PAY FOR JUSTICE, YOU DON’T GET IT AND THAT IS BECAUSE GEORGIA LAW AND GOVERNMENT IS BASE SOLELY ON A RACIST KLU KLUX KLAN MENTALITY LEGAL SYSTEM, THAT IS IN POWER IN ALL PARTS OF GOVERNMENT IN THE STATE OF GEORGIA, ESPECIALLY THE COURTS. WHEN THE KKK WHO WERE HEAD QUARTERED ATOP STONE MOUNTAIN UP TO AS LATE AS 1996, JUST BEFORE THE OLYMPICS, WANTED TO TAKE COUNTER MEASURES AGAINST THE CIVILS RIGHTS ACTS OF THE 1960′s AND OTHER FEDERAL EQUAL RIGHTS LAWS. THESE MEMBER’S OF THE MOST NOTORIOUS HATE GROUP ON AMERICAN (ORIGINAL INDIAN) SOIL, DECIDED TO CONTINUE THEIR LYNCHINGS LEGALLY IN THE GOVERNMENT, LAW ENFORCEMENT AND THE COURTS, by handing out and passing racially influenced morally illegal laws and policy. The fact that some 7 or more blacks who have in access of 20 years for crimes they did not commit is proof that some have been executed for crimes they did not commit. I also have proof juries in the state of Georgia and more than likely across the country are set up so as to find one guilty regardless of the facts of a case or the accused innocence or guilt. Court reporters also alter transcripts and testimony for the purpose of covering up malicious prosecutions and deliberate errors by the judges, prosecutors and public defenders who only pretend to represent clients, for profit and benefit of the IMMORAL STATE of GEORGIA THAT ONLY PASSES LAWS TO PROFIT OFF OF PEOPLES PROBLEMS.

  5. Saving the life of Troy Davis can bring so much awareness to the fact that capital punishment in the hands of courts like Georgia can destroy many lives.. If his sister should pass from Breast Cancer who will be there for her son? We need to stay with the facts.. We did with the Anthony case which certainly is extremely doubtful the she did not kill her daughter. Troy Davis is obviously a case of prejudice against blacks and the poor.

  6. Saving the life of Troy Davis can bring so much awareness to the fact that capital punishment in the hands of courts like Georgia can destroy many lives.. If his sister should pass from Breast Cancer who will be there for her son? We need to stay with the facts.. We did with the Anthony case which certainly is extremely doubtful the she did not kill her daughter. Troy Davis is obviously a case of prejudice against blacks and the poor.

  7. I'm a sympathizer with Troy Davis and have signed petitions and done social media arguing against the execution. But I would like know the facts to counter John Catalano's comment (above). Could anyone at Amnesty or anyone else take these up one-by-one? Thanks.

  8. I’m a sympathizer with Troy Davis and have signed petitions and done social media arguing against the execution. But I would like know the facts to counter John Catalano’s comment (above). Could anyone at Amnesty or anyone else take these up one-by-one? Thanks.