1. Burdell says:


    From what I’ve read, the case really needs to further review.

    If the evidence points to someone else, the Supreme Court has just prevented an irrevocable miscarriage of justice.

    If the evidence ultimately points back to Davis, well, that arm of his will still be available for the needle.

  2. atlantaman says:

    I’m a big proponent of the death penalty, but only in instances where the guilt is way beyond a reasonable doubt…like the Nichols trial. I know I can’t replace all of the hours the jury spent listening to testimony and evidence, but this point makes me a little uneasy: “Davis was convicted of MacPhail’s 1989 murder largely on the testimony of nine witnesses. Since his trial in 1991, 7 out of nine of those prosecution witnesses have recanted or changed their stories. Some say they feared retribution from the man they say actually killed MacPhail or that police pressured them into fingering Davis”

  3. bucky says:

    Actually, those witnesses just gave affidavits, obtained by defense counsel, in which their formerly clear, cross-examined memories suddenly became fuzzy. For the most part they do not say Davis didn’t do it, just that they no longer remember who did it or lied because they were mad at Davis. Some of the affidavits aren’t even notarized because the witnesses wouldn’t cooperate. One of the affidavits, from a witness who says he was scared to come forward originally, actually supports the prosecution’s version of the facts. The state and federal appellate courts have fully reviewed all of this evidence and have found it doesn’t change the verdict. If you don’t like the death penalty, then work to stop it. But don’t go trying to manipulate the facts almost 20 years later.

  4. bucky says:

    oh, and that “you” was not directed at any of you. More along the lines of “those who don’t like the death penalty should….”

  5. The Comma Guy says:

    Tanks for explaining things bucky. The anti-death penalty media will never truly explain the story behind the “recanted testimony” as it makes things look a bit worse for the anti death penalty folks.

    Another point – the Pardons and Paroles Board as well as the Georgia Supreme Court stopped this execution about a year ago. The Board did a complete re-evaluation of Davis’s case, with the statements from the jurors and witnesses as well as the trial evidence and still thought that the sentence should be obeyed. The Georgia Supreme Court decided to create a new law and gave Davis a completely new hearing and a chance to bring up all the things his supporters have been claiming no one will listen to or consider. The information was presented and failed to convince the judges.

    At what point do we say enough is enough? Folks claim that Brian Nichols and Judge Hilton Fuller are trying to break the system in Georgia. I think that they are finishing off what the Resource Center and the other anti-death penalty lawyers have so effectively broken.

  6. SavannahDem says:

    I think this is an issue which demonstrates a poor use of prosecutorial discretion. This, along with the Nichols case, shows why we need to have intelligent DAs.

    On Nichols – the DA shares a lot of the blame in my mind for the run away expenses of that trial. We all know Nichols did it. It was clear from day one the defense would be insanity.

    So, what does the DA do? He throws every possible charge against the defendant. The better course would have been to focus on the strongest parts of the case (I assume that would be the courthouse murders, what with security cameras and all).

    A narrower indictment means less witnesses, less possible confusion for the jury, less possibility for the defense to come up with things to try to distract the jury, and less cost.

    This poor choice by the DA means that the defense of this one case costs the entire state an ungodly sum of money. Thanks Paul Howard.

    Now, with regard to Davis.

    I too support the death penalty. However, I doubt that this case (nine witnesses, one victim, no physical evidence, and alternate suspect who admits to being on scene) would get the death penalty if tried today.

    I think most juries these days think like Atlantaman. They will vote for death, but only if there is some unbiased, physical evidence. Camera footage doesn’t change with time, neither do ballistics, fingerprints, DNA, etc.

    Without evidence like that, you run the risk of having a case like Davis. What happens if your witnesses recant – and they were your only evidence?

    The problem with the Davis case is the corrosive effect that it has on the justice system. Front page of the SMN today (and on many previous days) is a story on this case. What do you think this does to the Chatham Co. jury pool?

    By refusing to let Davis take life without parole, Spencer Lawton is making the job of his successor (i.e. getting convictions in other cases) that much more difficult.

    Lawton may be retiring and moving out of town, but I’m not. So, as a resident of Chatham Co. let me say “thanks.” I feel that much safer.

    [Sorry for the long post. Didn’t have time to make it shorter – SD]

  7. jsm says:

    “Bob Barr said that a stay was in order and he is a former federal prosecutor.”

    Oh… well, that settles it then.

  8. My kin folks call me Nick says:

    Savannah D,

    Great point of view. I am pro death penalty but I realize that the application is what is off.

  9. Doug Deal says:

    I am against the death penalty, Rick, but what you said is a bunch of crap.

    It is not murder just because you kill someone. It isn’t even necessarily murder if you kill someone illegally. Liberals like you lose so much credibility when you speak in such ridiculous hyberbole.

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