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Midnight Train to Georgia. More Than a Reasonable Doubt

A Savannah, Georgia man is to be executed tomorrow for a murder, that nearly everyone including former jurors, think would be an extreme miscarriage of justice.....Read this poignant story by Mark Kleiman 'Too bad Troy Davis doesn't play lacrosse'

Otherwise, someone might be upset that he's about to be executed for a crime he probably didn't commit.

Two men scuffled in a Burger King parking lot, an off-duty cop tried to intervene, and one of the men killed the cop. It appears that the killer then went to the police and said he'd seen Davis pull the trigger, and the police then dutifully went about turning that false accusation into a capital sentence.

Here's a piece of a statement from one of the key witnesses, who was 16 at the time of the shooting. ("Red" is the man who first accused Davis):

I told them it was Red and not Troy who was messing with that man, but they didn't want to hear that. The detectives told me, "Fine, have it your way. Kiss your life goodbye because you're going to jail." After a couple of hours of the detectives yelling at me and threatening me, I finally broke down and told them what they wanted to hear.

Having succeeded in obtaining a death sentence against an innocent man, prosecutors are sticking with it, and the Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act has allowed them to keep all the recantations -- by three out of the four witnesses in a case with no physical evidence whatever -- out of the court record.

So it doesn't really matter of the rest of the Supreme Court agrees with the opinion of Scalia and Thomas (concurring in Herrera v. Collins) that if an innocent man has been convicted in a procedurally fair trial there's no Constitutional bar to executing him; since the AEDPA (signed by Clinton, 1996) makes it all but impossible legally to prove innocence, the question doesn't arise.

To his credit, William Sessions, FBI Director under Reagan and Bush the First, is trying to kick up a fuss. But it probably won't do any good. And the Republicans and the right-wing media will accuse anyone who tries to change the law of being soft on crime.

Update. The execution is tomorrow.The clemency hearing is going on today.

And the first Republican Governor of Georgia since Reconstruction, Sonny Perdue...what will his response likely be, to the appeal for clemency? I looked up his site and the only indication I got was his statement:

May God bless the great State of Georgia! ( United States)

It doesn't look good for Troy.

UPDATE: GOOD NEWS ! After all. The Georgia state Board of Pardons and Paroles on Monday, granted a stay of execution for 90 days...However, according to Mark Kleiman: "But apparently (I'm just going on newspaper accounts) the Board's power is limited to commuting his sentence to life without parole. That outcome would make no sense whatsoever."

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Comments (3)

Great point Steve, but you went to the wrong website. WHERE IS the Duke Faculty on this one? Have you seen any newspaper ads? Any calls by them for condemnation of the local prosecutor? Where is the Left wing media? Where is John Conyers? CBSABCNBCCNNMSNBC?

Clinton signs his legislative death warrant and a former Republican appointee is kicking up a fuss and all you can do is point a finger at a Republican Governor? You should have been on this months ago. Where have you been? Playing lacrosse? Or griping about Iraq? If you truly cared about the incarcerated your zeal would be admirable; waltzing in at the last hour is ...how shall I say it...patronizing, disingenuous...and shallow. If you truly want to defend the convicted, particularly the convicted who will be punished with death, get your a** in the game sooner.
When it comes to capital punishment the most despicable characters are the pretenders.

Steve Crickmore:

HughS....The problem as I see it the original prosecution and police railroaded Troy. You are right it is not really a Republican vs Democrat issue on party lines (it was my link that talked of Republican law n'order politics)..There may be some overlap, but in my post I mentioned the Clinton willingly signed the faulty Anti Terrorism bill that didn't provide the proper safeguards, and Wiiiam Sessions FBI director under Reagan was leading the Davis appeal, and also a Black Republican Garland R. Hunt appointed by Governor Perdue, was Chair of the state panel of Pardons and Paroles which has now issued a reprieve for 90 days...See UPDATE in original post. Common sense has won for the moment...Good question where was, the MSM, John Conyers and especially Obama on this issue. It could be unfortunately. that there are so many cases that have sought 'closure' on an innocent person.124 (by one count) men and women on Death Row have been released, because they were wrongly convicted, that we are becoming inured to such events.

I appreciate your honest and straightforward response.
This is a hot button subject for me because I participate in the Prison Ministry at my church. One of the more thoughtful critics of capital punishment is a figure who is anathema to the Old Guard Left....Charles Colson.
When I ask where the usual liberal suspects are on the issue I find that they are always late to the crises and usually pretending concern. Demagoguing. On the other hand, Colson's ministry ( Prison Fellowship Ministries) is there every day pleading for and comforting these people.


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Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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