The Two-Way
9:00 am
Tue September 20, 2011

No Clemency For Troy Davis, Georgia Death Row Inmate

Originally published on Tue September 20, 2011 12:48 pm

"The state Board of Pardons and Paroles ... has denied clemency for Troy Anthony Davis after hearing pleas for mercy from Davis' family and calls for his execution by surviving relatives of a murdered Savannah police officer," The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

Now, the newspaper adds:

"Davis, 42, is scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the state prison in Jackson. He was sentenced to death for the 1989 murder of off-duty Savannah Police Officer Mark Allen MacPhail. ... His legal appeals are exhausted, so his latest last-ditch effort before the parole board appears to be his last chance to be spared execution."

The Associated Press writes that:

"Several of the witnesses who helped convict [Davis] at his 1991 trial have backed off their testimony or recanted. Others who did not testify say another man at the scene admitted to the shooting.

"The U.S. Supreme Court even granted Davis a hearing to prove his innocence, the first time it had done so for a death row inmate in at least 50 years. The high court set up a hearing, but Davis couldn't convince a lower federal judge to grant him a new trial. The Supreme Court did not review his case. Federal appeals courts and the Georgia Supreme Court have upheld his conviction, leaving the parole board as his last chance."

Update at 12:40 p.m. ET. On The Case:

A short time ago on Tell Me More, former Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke (D) explained why people as far apart politically as former Rep. Bob Barr (who served in Congress as a Republican and ran for president as a Libertarian) and former President Jimmy Carter (D) have called for Davis to be spared the death penalty.

Schmoke, who is now dean of the law school at Howard University and is a former member of the death penalty committee at The Constitution Project, told host Michel Martin that "even people who are proponents of capital punishment want to make certain that those who are put to death really are guilty — that there's not just the question of reasonable doubt, but that there's no doubt."

"In this case," Schmoke continued, "you do have a situation of witnesses who were very young at the time that they gave statements now recanting in their adulthood, save for one particular witness. With that kind of uncertainty, I'm sure it leaves people very wary about moving ahead with putting this man to death when the board could give him life without parole."

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