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Fresno Demonstration against the Death Penalty
by Mike Rhodes (editor [at] fresnoalliance.com)
Wednesday May 20th, 2009 9:31 AM
About 20 anti-death penalty demonstrators gathered in front of St. John’s Cathedral in Fresno on Tuesday, May 19. They joined human rights activists throughout the world in a Global Day of Action for Troy Anthony Davis, a Georgia man condemned to die for the 1989 murder of a police officer – a crime of which Davis may be factually innocent.
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About 20 anti-death penalty demonstrators gathered in front of St. John’s Cathedral in Fresno on Tuesday, May 19. They joined human rights activists throughout the world in a Global Day of Action for Troy Anthony Davis, a Georgia man condemned to die for the 1989 murder of a police officer – a crime of which Davis may be factually innocent. The purpose of the demonstration was to influence the State of Georgia and the federal courts to re-consider Davis's case.

The federal appeals court in Atlanta last week rejected Davis's bid for a new trial on claims he did not kill the officer. In a 2-1 opinion, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Davis could not establish by clear and convincing evidence a jury would not have found him guilty. Judge Rosemary Barkett dissented. "To execute Davis, in the face of a significant amount of proffered evidence that may establish his actual innocence, is unconscionable and unconstitutional," she wrote.

Davis, 40, stands convicted of killing off-duty Savannah Police Officer Mark Allen MacPhail. The 27-year-old former Army Ranger was shot three times before he could draw his weapon. The 30-day stay of execution issued April 16th expires on May 15th. This opens the door for the state of Georgia to issue and execute a death warrant before the end of May. Davis' innocence claims have attracted international attention. They rely largely on the recantations of key prosecution witnesses who testified at trial and on statements by others who say another man told them he was the actual killer. There is no physical evidence connecting Davis with the crime. One of the two witnesses who did not recant is considered by some to be the actual killer.

In October, 2008, the 11th Circuit granted Davis a stay three days before he was to be put to death by lethal injection. It marked the third time Davis' life was spared before his scheduled execution.

On April 30, the two-judge majority noted that state courts and the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles had exhaustively reviewed Davis' claims and rejected them. Judges Joel Dubina and Stanley Marcus said they agreed with those conclusions. "Davis has not presented us with a showing of innocence so compelling that we would be obligated to act today," they wrote. The judges said they view the recantations with skepticism and, after reviewing Davis' claims, "remain unpersuaded." Russ Willard, spokesman for state Attorney General Thurbert Baker, said the 11th Circuit made the "correct decision."

Tom Dunn, one of Davis' lawyers, said he was disappointed, but would fight on. "Troy is innocent and this struggle is far from over."

The Fresno demonstration was supported by local chapters of Death Penalty Focus, Fresno Center for Nonviolence Prison Ministry and others.

For more information, Contact: Maria Telesco 559-255-9492 maria.telesco [at] sbcglobal.net
§17:11 minute video of the Demonstration
by Mike Rhodes Wednesday May 20th, 2009 9:31 AM
Copy the code below to embed this movie into a web page:
§Maria Telesco helped organize the rally
by Mike Rhodes Wednesday May 20th, 2009 9:31 AM
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§Rev. Floyd D. Harris holding photo of Troy Davis
by Mike Rhodes Wednesday May 20th, 2009 9:31 AM
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Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Dudley Sharp
Wednesday May 20th, 2009 1:04 PM
Troy Davis: Both sides need to be told (1) Davis v Georgia, Georgia Supreme Court, 3/17/08 Full ruling http://www.gasupreme.us/pdf/s07a1758.pdf Summary http://www.gasupreme.us/op_summaries/mar_17.pdf " . . . the majority finds that 'most of the witnesses to the crime who have allegedly recanted have merely stated that they now do not feel able to identify the shooter.' "One of the affidavits 'might actually be read so as to confirm trial testimony that Davis was the shooter.' " The murder occurred in 1989. (2) "THE PAROLE BOARD'S CONSIDERATION OF THE TROY ANTHONY DAVIS CASE" , 9/22/08, http://www.pap.state.ga.us/opencms/opencms/ "After an exhaustive review of all available information regarding the Troy Davis case and after considering all possible reasons for granting clemency, the Board has determined that clemency is not warranted." "The Board has now spent more than a year studying and considering this case. . . . the Board gave Davis" attorneys an opportunity to present every witness they desired to support their allegation that there is doubt as to Davis" guilt. The Board heard each of these witnesses and questioned them closely. In addition, the Board has studied the voluminous trial transcript, the police investigation report and the initial statements of all witnesses. The Board has also had certain physical evidence retested and Davis interviewed." (3) A detailed review of the extraordinary consideration that Davis was given for all of his claims, by Chatham County DA Spencer Lawton http://tinyurl.com/46c73l (4) Officer Mark Allen MacPhail: MacPhail's family fully believes that Troy Davis murdered their loved one and that the evidence is supportive of that opinion. http://www.markallenmacphail.com/