Sep 13, 2010
A U.S. District Court judge upheld the conviction of death row inmate Troy Davis, despite new evidence showing he is innocent.
The U.S. Supreme Court had sent the case back to the district court in Georgia to hear new evidence. Davis, who is black, was convicted in 1991 and sentenced to death for the murder of an off-duty white cop, Mark MacPhail.
The police charged Troy Davis with MacPhail’s murder, despite the fact that they had no physical evidence linking Davis to the murder and no murder weapon – only shaky eyewitness testimony.
Seven of nine civilian witnesses have since recanted, explaining they were either coerced by the police or threatened by the actual murderer – Sylvester “Red” Coles. Several witnesses said that Coles bragged about shooting MacPhail and another witness testified he saw Coles shoot MacPhail.
The district court judge presiding over the evidentiary hearing even admitted “the new evidence casts additional minimal doubt on his (Davis’s) conviction.” Yet the judge claimed Davis had not met the higher standard required in an evidentiary hearing. The judge went so far as to accuse Davis’s lawyers of not calling on Coles to testify at the hearing, failing to mention that the judge had denied them policing powers to serve Coles a subpoena, nor did he assign any police to do it.
The courts, the prosecution, and the police have a conviction on their record and they are not about to overturn it – even if they have the wrong man.
Justice – 17th Century American style.