September 24, 2008

Supreme Court grants Troy Davis stay of execution!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008 5:56 AM

Dear Virginia,

A week and a half ago, hundreds of members called the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles, asking them to commute the sentence of Troy Davis, a Black man on Georgia's death row who is likely innocent. Despite huge doubts about his guilt--7 of the 9 witnesses against him have recanted their testimony, with some saying they were coerced into testifying against him1--the board decided to proceed with his execution.

Yesterday brought excellent news. The State of Georgia was scheduled to kill Troy Davis at 7pm, but at the last minute, the U.S. Supreme Court granted him a temporary stay of execution.2 After having been denied a new trial by the Georgia Supreme Court, the U.S. Supreme Court is Troy Davis' final chance at a fair trial. Today, they decided to temporarily delay Troy Davis's execution while they decide whether to hear his appeal.

While we weren't able to convince Georgia's Board of Pardons and Paroles to do the right thing this time around, members were part of a huge outpouring of support for Troy Davis just before his scheduled execution. The Supreme Court is not supposed to respond to public pressure, but all the attention focused on Troy Davis may well have encouraged a sense of responsibility to at least consider hearing his case before he is killed.

It's not the first time we've helped delay his execution. Last summer, we faced a similar situation--Troy was scheduled to be executed, and the Board of Pardons and Paroles was asked to stop his execution. members flooded the board with calls and played a key role in convincing them to do the right thing--the board granted him a stay of execution, giving his legal team more time to convince a court to hear the new evidence in his case.

Now, it's up to the US Supreme Court to ensure that justice is served in Troy Davis' case. In a justice system that is so often unreasonable, unjust, and cruel, it's hard to know what will happen. But it can only help that the world is watching.

Thanks and Peace,

-- James, Gabriel, Clarissa, Andre, Kai, and the rest of the team
September 24th, 2008

1. "Davis execution scheduled; 7 witnesses have recanted," Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 9/03/08

2. "U.S. Supreme Court stays Georgia execution," CNN, 09/23/08

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