Supreme Court allows Troy Davis execution

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected an appeal from death-row inmate Troy Davis, refusing to consider his case.

The court turned down Davis’ appeal without comment.

Outstanding.

Davis’ sister, Martina Correia, was furious with the high court’s decision. “I’m truly disgusted by these people,” Correia said. “I don’t even know what to say. I wonder why I’m still a U.S. citizen sometimes.”

Yeah, me too. Feel free to leave anytime.

29 comments

  1. rugby fan says:

    So if all signs of the evidence point to a man being innocent (including seven witness recanting their testimony) it is a good thing that he is going to die?

    Really?

    I am dumbfounded by this.

  2. Bill_k says:

    Rogue,

    Why do you seem so happy over this?

    7 of the 9 witness have recanted their testimony. Other witnesses have said that another man did the shooting.

    I don’t know all the facts on this (and I doubt you do either) but this gives me doubt about Davis’ guilt. Are we about to execute an innocent man?

    Even if he is the killer, I don’t think I would ever use the word ‘outstanding’ to describe his pending execution.

    The taking of someone’s life is a grave burden that the state takes on, and I would ask that extreme due diligence is undertaken in all such cases.

  3. Icarus says:

    The headlines that keep getting reported, that most of the witnesses have changed their testimony, doesn’t apparently tell the whole story. My limited understanding is that the defense attorneys are claiming this, but most of these who supposedly have claimed to have changed their story will neither cooperate nor sign affidavits.

    Both the GA and US Supreme Court have taken a look at the actual facts. Doesn’t surprise me that the US Supreme Court ultimately decided to take a pass, but if the facts were only as they are being reported, I would find it more odd that our current GA Supreme court would let him be executed.

  4. atlantaman says:

    I’m with Butler, is there something I’m missing. Seven of the witnesses recant their testimony, some stating they were intimidated into making the statements by the police, and we don’t have a reasonable doubt.

    This is from AJC article on the GA Supreme court’s decision:

    “In a 4-3 Georgia Supreme Court decision, written by Justice Harold Melton, the court followed a precedent that demands proof, with “no doubt of any kind,” that a witness’ trial testimony was “the purest fabrication.”

    Melton cited a state Supreme Court ruling in 1983 involving a Clayton County murder conviction, obtained when a witness testified he lent his car to the defendant on the night of the killing and saw the bound and gagged victim placed in the back seat. When it was later shown the witness was in the Cobb County jail at that time and could not have been telling the truth, the court granted a new trial.

    The recantations in Davis’ case do not rise to such a level of proof, nor has he shown that his new evidence is “so material that it would probably produce a different verdict,” Melton wrote.

    Justice Leah Ward Sears, in dissent, said there is merit to requiring proof that testimony was the “purest fabrication” to warrant a new trial or hearing. “However, it should not be corrupted into a categorical rule that new evidence in the form of recanted testimony can never be considered, no matter how trustworthy it might appear.”

    As a layman I agree with Sears. I know the courts are bound by consistent precedents, and would probably be in favor of going forward with the death penalty if only one witness changed his mind, but is our legal system so rigid we can’t pause for reflection when seven witnesses recant their testimony?

  5. StevePerkins says:

    I disagree with the death penalty, but I don’t get crazy with hyperbole about it. I’m not a big fan of anti-capital punishment guys trotting out crazy arguments that hurt credibility (e.g. the inmate in Texas who’s “too obese” to be executed, etc). Also, I shake my head at the anti-abortion crowd that foams at the mouth about “murder”… so it would be a tad hypocritical for me to say the same things in this debate.

    That said, I genuinely don’t get the over-the-top “cheerleading” by the pro-death penalty crowd. Even the most crazy, man-hating, unshaven-armpitted feminist on earth doesn’t whoop and holler with glee every time a female chooses to terminate a pregnancy… but that’s exactly the kind of behavior you see in this context when the government kills somebody. Support the death penalty or oppose it, it’s an ugly situation regardless… and nothing to “celebrate”, notwithstanding the particulars in any given case. People who do so sound ridiculous.

  6. I’m very much pro-capital punishment, but I have to agree with Sear’s dissent in this case to an extent.

    However, I will say that I do not believe that if Davis is truely innocent, the blood is on the hands of the government, but on the people who may have fabricated their testimony in 1991.

    It is impossible to have a new trial. What were the motivations of the witnesses then? What are their motivations now?

    Did they lie then or are they lying now because they feel bad their testimony is going to result in someone’s death?

    The fact is the justice system is flawed because the justice system is human. Without some kind of direct and undisputable evidence, we will really never know if Davis is indeed innocent or guilty. However, there are a lot of people who go to prision or death without undisputable proof, just the testimony of individuals and the judgement of 12 jurors.

  7. atlantaman says:

    Cobb-

    I agree with you in that a new trial would be impossible and what’s to say the witnesses were telling the truth back then and are lying now.

    Perhaps that’s a problem when you are convicting somebody to death without any proof other than some witness testimony from a crowd of idiots who were probably trying to protect their own asses.

  8. David says:

    I don’t know about this particular case but we can all cheer “outstanding” because that fat f*** in Ohio who argued that he couldn’t be killed because he was a hog, has been given his just “desserts” today! 22 years the taxpayers paid for him to sit his ever-widening butt on death row! Sheeeeeeeeeesh!! That’s another crime!

  9. bucky says:

    Three points:

    1. There is no perfect justice system. Witnesses are fallible. Biologically, even your strongest, freshest memories are incorrect. And the longer you go, and the more you remember, the more incorrect those memories become.

    2. Understanding that, you choose either to support the death penalty as a potential punishment for people convicted of heinous crimes on evidence that a jury of their peers believes shows their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, or not.

    3. Whether you choose to support or oppose the death penalty, a final judgment should be considered a final judgment. Or, at a minimum, the fact that people remember things differently a decade later should not impact the judgment.

    That is all.

  10. Bucky Plyler says:

    I don’t know the facts of this case, but what Bucky has to say above is true. Feels good to agree w/ another Bucky.

    However, point three is debatable if those people now swear that they gave false testimony the first time around.

    This case has been studied by people who do know the evidence.

    It’s certainly not the same deal that Terri Schivo got.

  11. Death penalty for the non-torture death of one person?

    Oh, right. The victim was special. He was a police officer.

    I forgot that not all people are equal. Those who are blue get special treatment. I am not saying the police officer deserved it, but when was the last time someone got the death penalty in Georgia for shooting and killing an ordinary citizen?

  12. OleDirtyBarrister says:

    It depends on what the meaning of “recant” is. And the lawyers pushing his case have stretched the meaning of what the evidence is along with a willing accomplice in the mainstream media.

    You will never, ever, get a complete and accurate depiction of a legal matter in the mainstream media. Even if the reporter does his job, the whole story will not survive the editorial review. I have spoken to journalists about errors on several occasions, and in most instances they acknowledged the error and attributed them to edits.

    The homeless guy that was beaten just before the other was shot did not recant his testimony or exonerate Davis. he just said that he could not remember what happened 19 years ago. You know, 19 years of hard living on the street with drugs, alcohol, age, etc. will do that to an old man’s memory. Defense counsel had the opportunity to test his memory and bias through cross examination at trial.

    Those witnesses that came out with what might be recanting were less material witnesses.

    Davis’ biggest problem is that there were eyewitnesses with a good view that said they saw him beat the homeless man and that the he also was the man that shot the cop. The key witnesses have not backpedaled, and the defense lawyers have not been able to impeach that evidence at all.

    There is no quota on credible witnesses. If one man’s testimony stands, and he said he had a good view of what happened, and testified what happened start to finish, the rest of the noise is superfluous.

    One presumed innocent until proven guilty only in the trial court of original jurisdiction. Once convicted, the case is viewed in a light most favorable to the jury’s verdict. That comes from the citizens’ reservation unto themselves the right to make the findings of facts and apply those facts to law. There was an historical concern about the prospect of appellate courts marginalizing juries, and the rules on appeal reflect a compromise to accommodate those concerns.

    Davis was in habeas proceedings, which are civil, not criminal. He’d already been through his criminal appeals.

  13. Rick Day says:

    Yeah, me too. Feel free to leave anytime.

    I’d pay your bus fare to the death house if you would tell that woman that to her face.

    Otherwise, you are just another pro-death compassionate conservative gleeful a black is going to die.

    Nothing personal….

  14. bowersville says:

    I’m a Republican, I’m white and I don’t believe in the death penalty.

    Well there, I said it, now for you liberal freaks reading this, rest assured, I’m white, I’m Republican, so I’m a racist and I still don’t believe in a death penalty.

  15. atlantaman says:

    “There is no perfect justice system. Witnesses are fallible. Biologically, even your strongest, freshest memories are incorrect. And the longer you go, and the more you remember, the more incorrect those memories become.”

    While I get your point, I still think there are times you can be pretty damn sure who pulled the trigger, i.e. Brian Nichols.

    I can’t help but wonder where Troy Davis would be today if his defense team had the millions of dollars we are spending on Nichols.

    Obviously our system is not perfect, as too many people convicted by juries for the death penalty, and had even gone through the appeals process, sitting on death row are suddenly set-free due to DNA evidence. That’s kind of a big “whoops”. Why does Nichols get millions for his defense, but those guys probably got $1.05 for theirs.

    I get a little sick of some of these politicians, with such confidence and certainty, speak of the fact that Davis has had an adequate appeals process and there is no doubt to his guilt, but yet we get about one guy a year on death row that we have to say “whoops”.

    I just don’t know how you reconcile such certainty with so many “whoops”.

  16. atlantaman says:

    Bill-

    I don’t know if there is a statute of limitations, but if not they should be prosecuted for perjury.

  17. atlantaman says:

    It’s a good point Bill, at least there is some disincentive to “recanting”, so it’s not like changing your order at Arby’s.

  18. The Comma Guy says:

    But, he added, 29 judges in seven types of reviews have looked at witness affidavits offered by defense lawyers in the case before Tuesday’s ruling.

    He also disputed defense contentions that there was no physical evidence. Shell casings from a shooting by Davis of another man in Cloverdale earlier the same night matched those at the MacPhail shooting scene, Lawton said.

    ——————————-

    I haven’t found it yet on the interweb, but Spence Lawton released a multi-page manifesto about this case which the portions that I have seen is a very entertaining read.

    OBD has provided you guys with a lot of good information about this case and how these “recantations” are not really the case. It’s one thing to say 10 years or so after the fact that maybe you were mistaken. It’s a whole other thing to swear under oath and penalty of perjury that you testified falsely.

    And the groups that have been representing Troy Davis since his convictions are the types of folks who leave no stone unturned. Literally. They also have supporters who are the types of people who will track down witnesses and jurors and while talking with them, give the witness/juror a large dose of guilt -“Your decision killed a man.” Not exactly what an ordinary citizen wants to hear and have to try and sleep with each night.

    The process has given Davis every chance and opportunity to show that there was an error or mistake. He has not because there was not a mistake or error. It’s now time for a convicted cop killer to have his sentence imposed.

  19. SavannahDem says:

    (Sorry if this is a double post, but it doesn’t look like my first one went through.)

    There was a debate last night for candidates for Chatham County DA. David Lock, the Chief Asst. DA, was asked numerous questions about the Davis case. Here’s the link to the video:

    http://www.wsav.com/midatlantic/sav/news/elections/forum_video.html

    The Davis questions are in section one – from the panel, and section three – from the audience.

  20. drjay says:

    coincidentally, the da candidates in savannah had an already scheduled forum last nite and a group of davis apologists showed up and showed out a little–the dem used code words several times about how the death penalty in particular and crime in general are pursued in sav’h and the chief da who is running to succeed the retiring spencer lawton spent a lot of time defending their handling of the macphail murder case from 1989 to now…

  21. sonofliberty says:

    “Mere factual innocence is no reason not to carry out a death sentence properly reached”
    …………Antonin Scalia

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