Posted Sept. 22, 2008 – The fact that Troy Anthony Davis is about to be executed for murder even though there’s no weapon, no fingerprints and not a single drop of DNA shows just how unfair the American system of justice is, says a growing number of high-profile leaders.
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The 39-year-old Georgia man is scheduled to die by lethal injection Tuesday night after being convicted of killing Savannah Police Officer Mark Allen MacPhail in 1989. But Davis’ case has drawn worldwide attention because of how skimpy the evidence is that sent him to the death chamber.
Not only have international celebrity human rights activists – such as South African Nobel Peace Prize-winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Pope Benedict XVI and officials at Amnesty International – chimed in, but conservative Republican congressman-turned Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr and former President Jimmy Carter have called the state’s push for death a travesty.
“Executing Troy Davis without a real examination of potentially exonerating evidence risks taking the life of an innocent man and would be a grave miscarriage of justice,” Carter said in a statement Friday, adding that the parole board’s failure to reconsider the case would show “the deep flaws in the application of the death penalty in this country.”
A day later, the Pardons and Parole Board announced that it would not be granting last-minute clemency. “The board members have considered clemency on two occasions,” said board spokeswoman Scheree Lipscomb. “They stand firm in the decision that they have made.”
A fellow Georgian, Barr wrote the Parole Board that “the doubts about the Davis case have not been resolved, and fears that Georgia might execute an innocent man have not been allayed.” This weekend, the Rev. Al Sharpton, who heads the Harlem-based National Action Network, met with Davis on Georgia’s death row at Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson and prayed with him. Sharpton reported that the condemned man was “surprisingly upbeat. “He was not overly optimistic or pessimistic. He seemed like he was depending on his faith to see him through.”
Others, including the NAACP and Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, are planning rallies between today and Tuesday afternoon. Although several witnesses, on whom the prosecution based most of its case, have recanted their testimony, the slain officer’s mother called the support for Davis “disgusting.”
Said she: “It’s tearing me apart to see my son’s name dragged through the mud because of all of this. I hope this is over Tuesday and I can have some peace.”
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