Monday, June 29, 2009
Supreme Court may hear Troy Davis case
ajc dot com > Metro
Off-duty Savannah police officer Mark Allen MacPhail killed in 1989
By By KATIE LESLIE
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Sunday, June 28, 2009
With just two days before the U.S. Supreme Court closes for summer recess, the court is expected this week to consider a last-ditch hearing for death row inmate Troy Anthony Davis.
If the court does not decide by Tuesday whether to hear Davis’ most recent petition to retry his 1991 police murder case, justices won’t convene again until this fall. This current petition is largely considered Davis’ most viable option to stay alive, said Laura Moye of Amnesty International USA’s Death Penalty Abolition Campaign.
But the delay could be good news for Davis’ legal team and supporters.
“It buys more time for all of the advocates to get more publicity on the case,” Moye said.
If the courts decide against hearing Davis’ petition, it will be up to Chatham County District Attorney Larry Chisolm whether to pursue Davis’ fourth execution warrant. Chisolm could not be reached for immediate comment Sunday.
Davis, 40, was convicted of murdering Savannah Police officer Mark Allen MacPhail 20 years ago, though no physical evidence directly linked him to the crime. MacPhail, then a 27-year-old former Army ranger, was working off-duty when he was shot three times in a Burger King parking lot.
Since Davis’ trial, seven of nine witnesses have recanted their testimony and some people have implicated Sylvester “Redd” Coles as the shooter. Coles was the first person to implicate Davis in the killing.
Davis’ execution has been stayed three times as his team of attorneys exhaust their efforts to save his life. Requests for a new trial in Chatham County have been denied, as have their petitions to have new evidence considered in the case.
Judges, lawmakers and worldwide leaders have rallied behind Davis.
In May, a group of 27 former jurists and federal prosecutors pushed for a new hearing for Davis, filing a petition that said Davis can show “new, never reviewed evidence that strongly points to his innocence.” U.S. Rep. John Lewis, a Democrat who represents the 5th District, has called for a new trial. Former President Jimmy Carter and Pope Benedict XVI have asked that the inmate be spared death by lethal injection.
On Monday, Moye will be joined by the NAACP and community faith leaders to deliver thousands of new petitions to Chisolm calling for a retrial, she said. They’ve collected roughly 10,000 signatures in Chatham County alone, with as many as 70,000 signatures from around the U.S. and world, she said.
— Staff writer Bill Rankin contributed to this report.
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Posted by CN at 6:05 AM