Not In Our Name: Georgia Must Not Execute Troy Davis

Troy Davis too much doubtOutrageous.  Simply outrageous.

Georgia’s State Board of Pardons and Paroles has rejected Troy Davis’ clemency petition.  He faces execution on Wed., Sept. 21 at 7 pm EDT.  We do not accept this decision and we will not quietly sit by.  Join us by taking more action:  demand that the Board reconsider its decision and demand that Chatham County (Savannah) District Attorney Larry Chisolm seek a withdrawal of the death warrant and support clemency himself.

This appalling decision renders meaningless the Board’s 2007 vow to not permit an execution unless there is “no doubt” about guilt.  The Troy Davis case is riddled with doubt. Most of the witnesses who testified against him have recanted, while others have pointed to an alternate suspect as the real killer.

Nearly a million supporters of human rights and justice have called for clemency in this case, so far.  They believed in the common-sense notion that you should not execute someone when you can’t be sure they are guilty.

Death penalty supporters like Bob Barr, former Texas Governor Mark White,  and former FBI Director William Sessions also support clemency in this case, for the same reason.  And at least three jurors from Davis’ trial have asked for his execution to be called off. Putting Troy Davis to death would be a grave injustice to those jurors who believe they sentenced Davis to death based on questionable information.

The Board chose to ignore this huge number and wide range of voices, so we must raise our voices even more.  Demand that Georgia authorities Stop This Execution.

Texas Ex-Gov Doubts Death Penalty

In a recent interview on NPR, former Texas Governor Mark White discussed his lack of faith in the ability of the legal system to reliably handle death penalty cases, and emphasized the seriousness of handing down an irreversible sentence to a person who may later be proven innocent. While he was Governor, he oversaw a significant number of executions, but White now believes that: “What I see in retrospect is that our system is not as foolproof as I think it should be in order to carry out a punishment that’s irreversible.”

White also stated that he has never believed in the death penalty as a deterrent, because: “Obviously, with 400 people on death row, there’s at least 400 people up there that didn’t deter.”

As Amnesty International observed, Governor White’s evolution on this question is part of a national trend: “As advances in DNA and forensic science have revealed the extent to which our criminal justice system is prone to error, judges, jurors, the public, and even some politicians, have begun to question the wisdom of resorting to capital punishment.”

White’s statements (he’s a Democrat) also come at a particularly bad time for current Governor Rick Perry, who, in the middle of a re-election campaign, is now being scrutinized for his role in the execution of Cameron Todd Willingham, who appears to have been innocent and wrongly put to death.

In the past, you would only pay a political price if you didn’t support the death penalty strongly enough.  But in Texas, as everywhere else in the U.S., times have changed, and it would be quite something if the most prolific executing Governor in modern history wound up suffering politically because he supported the death penalty too much.