I rarely write to you about issues of life and death, but I do so today because a grave injustice could soon occur.
The state of Georgia is scheduled to execute Troy Davis at midnight on September 21, even though he is very likely innocent.
But the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles can stop this from happening. They will either take into account compelling evidence challenging Mr. Davis’s guilt or choose to ignore that evidence and allow his sentence to stand.
Act now. Urge the Georgia Pardons and Parole Board to grant clemency to Troy Davis before it’s too late. (Do not forward: This link will open a page with your information already filled in.)
An African American, Davis was convicted of the murder of off-duty Savannah Police Officer Mark MacPhail in 1991. No physical evidence links him to the crime, and he has steadfastly maintained his innocence.
His conviction was based solely on the testimony of witnesses and there was no other evidence against him. And, since his trial, seven of those witnesses have recanted — changing the story they told in court. Some witnesses say they were coerced by police. Others have even signed affidavits implicating one of the remaining two witnesses as the actual killer. But due to an increasingly restrictive appeals process, none of this new evidence has ever been properly reviewed in court.
Most recently, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear his death row appeal. It ended any real chance Troy Davis had that the courts will stop his execution. He is now at the end of the road. The state of Georgia has set his execution date.
The last chance for remedy of this outrageous injustice is an appeal for clemency to the Georgia Pardons and Parole Board. Clemency in Davis’s case does not mean setting him free but instead converting his death sentence to life in prison without parole. If his verdict is ever reversed he will be alive to see it.
The case of Troy Davis highlights all that the ACLU finds problematic with the death penalty such as the risk of innocent people being executed, inadequate counsel and racial and geographic disparities.
To execute someone when there is so much doubt about his guilt is a deep affront to justice. Let’s make clear our sense of outrage. Please act right now.
Anthony D. Romero
Executive Director, ACLU