Georgia parole board weighs Troy Davis case behind closed doors

Monday, Sept. 19, 2011 10:13 AM
Last updated 2:47 PM
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ATLANTA -- The Board of Pardons and Paroles began hearing from attorneys and family members of condemned murderer Troy Davis at 9 Monday morning as about 60 protesters demonstrated outside the building.

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The members of the Board of Pardons and Paroles prepare Monday to hear from lawyers and supporters of Troy Davis. Three of the five were not on the board when it denied clemency for Davis in the past  Walter Jones/ Morris News Service
Walter Jones/ Morris News Service
The members of the Board of Pardons and Paroles prepare Monday to hear from lawyers and supporters of Troy Davis. Three of the five were not on the board when it denied clemency for Davis in the past


The five-member board is the last hope for Davis and his supporters since multiple appeals have exhausted his legal options. The board, though, isn’t bound by the precedent or the procedures of the courts and can base its decision on whatever it chooses.

Davis, scheduled for execution Wednesday night, was convicted of killing off-duty Savannah policeman Mark MacPhail, but in the 20 years since, seven of the nine eyewitnesses who testified against him have reportedly backed away from part of their testimony, according to groups opposed to capital punishment.

Those opposition groups see the doubts surrounding his case as an opportunity to convince not just the parole board but also the public to halt his execution and all others.

“I think we’re changing some minds,” said Mary Catherine Johnson of Georgians For Alternatives to the Death Penalty. “I think people are looking at this case and beginning to get interested in other cases as well.”

Johnson, like most of the protesters, took time off from work or school to pray, hold banners and chant.

“I have a very understanding boss. She know this is important to me,” she said.

Savannah Williams heard about the Davis case while she was at Troy State University three years ago when someone handed her a flyer. It did awaken her awareness to other death-penalty cases, she said, although his case is especially bothersome for her because of the circumstances.

“I don’t believe in killing this young boy,” she said.

Cars along Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue honked as the protesters waved signs and chanted “Hey up, come testify. Please don’t let Troy Davis die;” and “They say, ‘death row;’ we say, ‘hell no.’”

Meanwhile, on the fifth floor of a nondescript state office building behind them, the parole board devotes hours to hearing Davis’ lawyers, a box of Kleenex sitting on a bench nearby. The defense team prepared for a multi-media defense, beginning with a side reading “If Only We Could Rewind the Tape: The limitations and Distortions of Eyewitness Testimony.”

Even though the board has denied past clemency appeals for Davis, three of the five members have joined the board since the last one.

The board meets behind closed doors, only allowing journalists into the room before the meeting long enough for photos. It holds separate meetings with prosecutors and victims’ families and doesn’t disclose when to prevent reporters from staking out the room to snag interviews as they leave.

Typically, the appointments with each side lasts two to three hours. The board will issue its decision by press release, declining interview requests and usually offering no explanation.

The decision could come today or Tuesday, but it could come as late as moments before the 7 p.m. schedule for Davis to receive a lethal injection.

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stillamazed
1489
Points
stillamazed 09/19/11 - 01:43 pm
0
0
After reading up on some of

After reading up on some of this and watching about it on the news the other night I definetly think this case needs another look before this man is put to death. This may well be a case of law enforcement strong arming witnesses, which would not be the first time. If that is indeed the case they do not need to put this man to death. I could never be in favor of the death penalty on eyewitness testimony alone.

broad street narrow mind
348
Points
broad street narrow mind 09/19/11 - 01:50 pm
0
0
it's strange that the local
Unpublished

it's strange that the local police depatment worked this case, isnt it? shouldn't the gbi have done it? can we expect coworkers abd friends of the officer who was murdered (and by all accounts a straight up good guy) to be clearheaded at the time of his murder enough to be totallt objective? this case is a real mess.

paulwheeler
145
Points
paulwheeler 09/19/11 - 02:19 pm
0
0
A case of law enforcement

A case of law enforcement strong arming witnesses, or a case of anti-death penalty activist lawyers strong arming witnesses for years? These witnesses who now are second-guessing, have they identified someone else who may have committed this crime? Has any other suspect surfaced in 20 years?

Little Lamb
52573
Points
Little Lamb 09/19/11 - 02:19 pm
0
0
StillAmazed says this case

StillAmazed says this case needs "another look." Who would he trust to do the looking? Appeals Court judges have given it another look. The U.S. Supreme Court looked and found it doesn't deserve their time.

BSNM says that it is strange that the local police department where the crime was committed did the initial investigation. No, it is not strange; it is normal. The police department is not expected to be "totally objective." They are expected to be professional and follow the rules of gathering evidence. It is the court that is supposed to be objective. And it was.

As far as law enforcement "strong arming witnesses," there is no evidence of that other than the claims of self-admitted perjurers, the recanting witnesses themselves. Who is to say that the NAACP, the ACLU, and Rev. Jesse Jackson have not been strong arming these witnesses to recant and take a brother off death row?

Little Lamb
52573
Points
Little Lamb 09/19/11 - 02:22 pm
0
0
If people are going to

If people are going to believe those recanting witnesses, then you have no logical reason not to pardon and release Troy Davis. But, no, all anybody wants to do is take the death penalty off the table. These activists asking for clemency and commutation are two-faced, because they want to cherry-pick which statements they believe from these recanters.

Craig Spinks
818
Points
Craig Spinks 09/19/11 - 02:34 pm
0
0
From an unimpeachable source,

From an unimpeachable source, I understand that TD's defence team was given an unprecedented degree of review by our state and federal judiciaries. A question for TD's defense team and backers: Where were the recanters when the USSC was hearing TD's last appeal there?

dickworth1
954
Points
dickworth1 09/19/11 - 02:48 pm
0
0
The recanters should be
Unpublished

The recanters should be prosecuted for apparently lying in the trial or
maybe after these many years they have had second thoughts about
the death penalty. Sorry, the murderer has had all the appeais through
state and federal courts and the courts found no evidence to change
the original sentence. The parole board has no right to overturn a sentence, if they do, you will see a backlash like never before from
law abiding citizens.

TrickMe
37
Points
TrickMe 09/19/11 - 03:39 pm
0
0
@Paul Wheeler. Yes, the

@Paul Wheeler. Yes, the suspect is Sylvester Redd Coles. He turned up at the police station the next day with an attorney and said he had been with Davis the night before and implicated Davis in the crime. That is what initiated the police to go after Davis. There have been at least 3 affidavits submitted from Coles friends and/or family members that state that long after Troy Davis was found guilty Coles admitted that he himself actually killed the police officer.

david jennings
625
Points
david jennings 09/19/11 - 05:35 pm
0
0
My sympathies are with Mark

My sympathies are with Mark Macphails family.I personally think Davis is guilty probably because of his history with lawenforcement.But turn him loose,commute his sentence.He might have fooled a lot of people b ut he wont fool the real judge.As I have done when my family were victimized,I found a way to forgive.I have faith the Lord that I worship and trust will right the wrongs just as he showed me the way to move on.

rmwardsr
525
Points
rmwardsr 09/19/11 - 06:22 pm
0
0
Forgiveness is for the

Forgiveness is for the benefit of the forgiver, expecially if the perpetrator has not asked for forgiveness. Being able to forgive alleviates always carrying around a grudge and angry feelings for which there is no resolution. However, it does not relieve the perpetrator of guilt for his actions, unless the perp has come to the victim in a remorseful state and asked for forgiveness of his actions against the victim. But the perp must still pay a price for his indescretions, it has been that way since the beginning of time. Yes, we must forgive and move on with our lives, but that does not relieve punishment for the wrongdoer in a situation like this.

Haki
31
Points
Haki 09/19/11 - 07:50 pm
0
0
I think Lil Lamb has Dick

I think Lil Lamb has Dick Chaney's pulse.

dougk
3
Points
dougk 09/19/11 - 08:00 pm
0
0
Lil Lamb wants revenge. She
Unpublished

Lil Lamb wants revenge. She doesn't care if she has the right person or not. So, yeah, Dick Cheney.

commonsense-is-endangere
43
Points
commonsense-is-endangere 09/19/11 - 09:16 pm
0
0
Right race, he'll walk.

Right race, he'll walk.

Haki
31
Points
Haki 09/19/11 - 10:46 pm
0
0
^ "right race," so much for

^ "right race," so much for common sense.

AutumnLeaves
11231
Points
AutumnLeaves 09/19/11 - 10:56 pm
0
0
rmwardsr, do you understand

rmwardsr, do you understand that this man is more than likely NOT guilty of this crime? If he is not guilty, WE are the perps, if we allow this travesty of justice to happen without protest.

KWILDE
0
Points
KWILDE 09/19/11 - 11:35 pm
0
0
This case appalls me!

This case appalls me!

Clearly what has been proven in this case is that a true investigation never happened however; a confirmationary investigation was conducted after Mr. Coles, accompanied by a lawyer implicated Mr. Davis. The one and same person who has since admitted that he indeed was the shooter to not just one, but several people.

Coupled with the fact that several "witnesses" have since recanted their stories, claiming coercion on the part of the investigators and police personnel.... anyone with half a brain can see that there are more than enough questions that this case MUST be looked at prior to ending a mans life.

And, For those of your who wish to view Law Enforcement and their practices through Rose colored glasses, sorry to break it to you, but it happens...ALL THE TIME!!!!

Original jurors are now stating that had all information been given them during Mr. Davis's trial, they would not have found him guilty.

Furthermore, I question why "life in prison" is an option should the board find Clemency for Mr. Davis. Mr. Davis has spent his "life' in prison, to the tune of 20 plus years for a crime he insists he is innocent of. Personally, I'd be screaming for his release!!!

I question a system, known by the vast population as "the best in the World" to allow individual freedom and rights to be blantantly ignored and violated! Innocent persons are found guilty everyday and years later are found to be innocent of the very crime they were convicted. Wake Up People.....

And, my heart goes out to the Family of Mr. Davis as well as the Family of the Officer. I cannot imagine the heartache that both Families have endured. Most importantly, I salute Mr. Davis for his continued strength. I could not imagine the mental anguish he has had to endure, let alone all the years he has lost walking in the shoes of an innocent man incarcerated. And, I salute those who have been his continued "Voice", never giving up and having faith.

I pray that the Board does the correct thing today. Otherwise, this is a HUGE wake up call for all people. God forbid it could happen to you or one of your cherished Family members!

shrimp for breakfast
5762
Points
shrimp for breakfast 09/20/11 - 06:07 am
0
0
There are way to many strange

There are way to many strange things about this case to put this man to death. Whenever a state puts a man to death it's because there is overwhelming evidence that they commited the crime. In this case there is no physical evidence, 7 people recanting their stories because when they gave them they were being strong armed by the police and there were no eye witnesses.
You can't take a chance of executing an innocent man and this is the poster case for that reasoning. If Georgia goes ahead and executes this man I will know for a fact that the state just likes to kill people whether they're guilty or not. That in itself is a crime!

Little Lamb
52573
Points
Little Lamb 09/20/11 - 07:39 am
0
0
You are asking for too

You are asking for too little, Shrimp. You are asking merely to commute Davis' death sentence, but then to leave him in prison. Your reasoning? You say:

1. There is no physical evidence.

2. 7 people recanted their stories.

3. There were no eye witnesses.

If your three points are true, then you should be championing for Davis' release from prison with the state's apologies, not merely a commutation of the death penalty!

Don't you want him back on the streets of Georgia as a free man?

dougk
3
Points
dougk 09/20/11 - 08:05 am
0
0
Good. Now, you're seeing the
Unpublished

Good. Now, you're seeing the light, LL.

shrimp for breakfast
5762
Points
shrimp for breakfast 09/20/11 - 08:16 am
0
0
If there is not enough

If there is not enough evidence to execute him then there's not enough evidence to keep him incarcerated. Yes I say set him free.

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