Troy Anthony Davis is a man on Georgia’s death row who is at risk of execution. He has been scheduled to be executed three times and each time his execution has been stayed amid doubts concerning the impact of numerous witness recantations and new evidence against another suspect. Following an evidentiary hearing in federal court in June 2010, a federal judge ruled that Davis had not clearly established his innocence. Yet significant doubts about his guilt have been raised and remain unresolved. People of Faith Against the Death Penalty is partnering with Amnesty International USA in circulating this letter for religious leaders to endorse. If you are a religious leader or minister of any kind please consider endorsing the letter below urging the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles to prevent the execution of Troy Davis.
Please share this letter with other clergy and religious leader contacts of yours, so that we can build a strong list!
For facts about this case, and more actions to take, please visitwww.justicefortroy.org
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Thank you for your support!
Dear Chairman Donald and Members of the Board:
We the undersigned represent clergy and leaders from various religious traditions. As leaders in our respective faith communities, we all find within our teachings a divine directive to support justice in the world and to uphold the sacredness of life. As such, we are united in our support of clemency for Mr. Troy Anthony Davis.
As people of faith, we wish to make a special appeal to you about this compelling case which we believe is worthy of your intervention. We are troubled by the crime that is at the heart of this case. In 1989, Savannah and the MacPhail family suffered a terrible loss when Police Officer Mark Alan MacPhail was shot to death while rushing to the aid of a beaten homeless man. The actual perpetrator must be held accountable so that justice can be served. We hold the MacPhail family and the Savannah community in our prayers as they have endured a difficult process.
We are also troubled that a man was sent to death row, largely on the basis of witness testimony, most of which has been contradicted since the trial. Troy Davis was given an unprecedented opportunity to present his claim of innocence at a federal district court hearing in June 2010. While the federal judge felt that Davis did not meet the “extraordinarily high” standard to “clearly establish innocence,” Judge William T. Moore, Jr. acknowledged that the case against Davis “may not be ironclad.” Ultimately, he did not trust the credibility of the witnesses; however, these are the very witnesses whose testimony was used to secure Davis’ conviction. We know that four witnesses testified at this hearing that they had not told the truth in implicating Davis at trial and another eyewitness testified that he saw a relative of his commit the murder in question. These are very significant developments that cast serious doubt on Davis’ guilt.
We commend the Board for its strong moral position in the Order Suspending the Execution of Sentence of Death issued on July 16, 2007. That statement read, “The members of the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles will not allow an execution to proceed in this State unless and until its members are convinced that there is no doubt as to the guilt of the accused.” Gov. Ted Strickland of Ohio took a similar stand by granting clemency to Kevin Keith in September 2010. Gov. Strickland was not sure of Keith’s innocence claim, but was not comfortable allowing an execution to be carried out with serious and persistent questions about his guilt. Keith is now serving a life sentence and Ohio is no longer at risk of killing what may be an innocent man.
Your role as the final failsafe and check on the judicial system is extremely critical to preventing the state of Georgia from the possibility of making an irreversible and horrific error. Given these uncertainties, allowing the execution of Troy Davis would be a gamble that we believe is both unnecessary and unconscionable. We hold you each in our prayers as you fulfill your duty to review this case once again, and we urge you to grant clemency to Mr. Davis.