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Another Innocent Person Faces Death Penalty Murder Next Week - Call For Action!
#1
Thousands of people who believe the state of Georgia is about to execute an innocent man are rallying behind the high-profile death row inmate Troy Anthony Davis. Davis was convicted of the 1989 killing of an off-duty Savannah police officer, Mark MacPhail, but has always maintained his innocence. His case has become a focal point for anti-death penalty activists in the United States and abroad, attracting supporters such as Pope Benedict XVI, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. The Georgia Superior Court has scheduled Davis's execution for next Wednesday, Sept. 21. Seven of the nine non-police witnesses who implicated Davis have recanted their testimony, and there is no physical evidence that ties him to the crime scene. With his legal appeals exhausted, the fate of Troy Davis rests largely in the hands of Georgia's Board of Pardons and Parole, which could commute his death sentence and spare his life. Yesterday, supporters delivered a petition containing more than half a million signatures to a state parole board in support of clemency for Davis. We speak with Benjamin Jealous, president and CEO of NAACP, a leading organization in the campaign to stop Davis's execution. "It's been activism that has kept Troy alive to this point," Jealous says.
JUAN GONZALEZ: Thousands of people who believe Georgia is about to execute an innocent man are rallying behind the high-profile death row inmate, Troy Davis. Davis was convicted of the 1989 killing of a Savannah police officer but has always maintained he did not commit the murder. His case has become a focal point for anti-death penalty activists in the U.S. and abroad, attracting supporters such as Pope Benedict, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. The Georgia Superior Court has scheduled Davis's execution for next Wednesday, September 21st. Yesterday, supporters delivered a petition containing more than half a million signatures to a state parole board in support of clemency for Davis.

AMY GOODMAN: Troy Davis's older sister, Martina Correia, is one of the staunchest defenders of Troy. Speaking on WSAV-TV in Savannah, she reacted to the news of Troy's impending execution.

MARTINA CORREIA: I'm very disappointed in Georgia, because there's still doubt. But I'm holding the parole board to their standard, that when there is doubt, that they won't execute.

AMY GOODMAN: Troy Davis was convicted in 1989 of killing off-duty white police officer Mark MacPhail. Since then, seven of the nine non-police witnesses who fingered Davis have recanted their testimony. There is no physical evidence that ties Davis to the crime scene.
With his legal appeals exhausted, the fate of Troy Davis rests largely in the hands of Georgia's Board of Pardons and Parole, which could commute his death sentence and spare his life. The officer's family believes there's no doubt that Troy Davis killed MacPhail, and prosecutors say the right man was convicted.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Earlier this month, Democracy Now! spoke with Benajmin Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP, a leading organization in the campaign to stop Davis's execution.

BENJAMIN JEALOUS: This is a case that, whether you support the death penalty or you oppose it, should make you stop dead in your tracks. We hear from death row inmates each year. It's very rare that we get involved like this. But when you hear that seven of the nine people who put him on death row have since recanted, that several more have come forward and say that one of the two who have not recanted is the actual killer, and when he has been so consistent in his story again and again, it really gives you chills.

You know, I've sat down with folks in Georgia, with the warden, asked them why they won't let Troy speak, why they won't let one of the witnesses who has come forward after the fact, who's behind bars but was 15 at the time and whose parents wouldn't let him testify at the time, who's since come forward to say that this other man is the killer, speak. And what they said back was simply, "We don't want to cause any more concern. We don't even want any more stress about this case."

Well, you know, there's a couple ways to deal with that. One is to silence Troy, silence the witnesses. The other is to let the truth out and make sure that the right person gets behind bars. And that's really what this is about. You know, at the very end of the day, we want to make sure that the right person is punished for the crime. And Troy clearlythere's so much evidence of his innocence, it just seems to be no way that the state should be rushing, as they are so, to put him to death.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, Ben Jealous, Brenda Forrest, one of the jurors in Troy's original case, told CNN that she initially didn't have any doubts that he committed the crime. However, Forrest has since changed her mind.


BRENDA FORREST: If I knew then what I know now, Troy Davis would not be on death row. The verdict would be "not guilty."


JUAN GONZALEZ: Ben Jealous, have jurors reassessments factored into Troy's case at all at this point?

BENJAMIN JEALOUS: You know, certainly, by us, by the media, I mean, it's part of why there is so much doubt. And really, frankly, I have no doubt. I mean, having dealt with hundreds of death row cases over the past 20 years, I have no doubt that Troy is telling the truth. So many others have come to the same conclusion.

But with regard to the Board of Pardons and Parole, we just need them to recognize that there is doubt, that this is an exceptional case, and they should do the exceptional thing and spare his life. And, you know, if folks want to do something, they can go to NAACP.org and sign the petition to the board that we're going to bring them later this week, or I guess late next week.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to go to another clip, and this was of Troy himself. This was a clip that was done in 2007. He was interviewed by Naji Mujahid of DC Radio Co-op, a reporter with Free Speech Radio News. This is Troy Davis in his own words.


TROY DAVIS: I just want to tell everybody how thankful I am for their prayers, their support, and want them to continue to stand up for me, because anybody can be put in my particular situation.

It's time for the young brothers out there in the street to do what's right, to educate themselves and the younger brothers and teach them how to turn their life around in the right direction, open up your own businesses, make sure that you've got yourself in check so that you will have a better chance in life to survive and won't be no product of a system.

It's time for the sisters to embrace their brothers, the ones who are doing wrong, to talk to them and encourage them to do right.

But most of all, it's time for people in general to stand up for everything that they feel is not right and to speak out and let their voice be heard.

My situation is a situation that should have never happened. But together, if we pull together as a people, I'll be coming home. And when I come home, we can bring more brothers and sisters out, bring them home, gather them together, and, as one people, we can make a change in this wicked world.


AMY GOODMAN: That was Troy Davis in prison on death row. Ben Jealous, this case went to the Supreme Court in 2009. It has been rejected at every level. Can you talk about what activism means at the grassroots level outside of the courts?

BENJAMIN JEALOUS: Sure. You know, quite frankly, it's been activism that has kept Troy alive to this point. The Supreme Court did an extraordinary thing in 2009 and actually, for the first time in more than 50 years, granted an inmate a new hearing of the evidence, even though he had exhausted his appeals. That standard, the burden is still on the inmate. They actually have to prove that they did not do the crime, as opposed to the state proving that they did. And the judge in that case said that it was clear that the case against Troy wasyou know, had holes in it, was not sound. But he said that he had not met the extraordinary high bar that it is to actually have to prove that you wereyou know, when it's reversed, it's justit's just muchit's just much harder.

Right now, people turning out, lifting up their voice, signing the petition at NAACP.org, making sure that the state of Georgia hears from them, especially if you live in Georgia, making sure that your state government understands that you don't want them to kill people when there's this muchthis sort of compelling case of their not having done the crime. I mean, for seven out of nine people who put him on the row to come forward and say that Troy didn't do it, you know, to recant, and then for more to come forward and say that actually one of the two who won't recant is the actual killer, it just doesn't happen every day. And so, again, regardless of whether you're for the death penalty or you oppose it, this is a case to lift up your voice and just simply say, "Not this time. Not this time. This is too extraordinary. It's too disturbing. There's too much doubt. Don't kill Troy."

JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, Ben Jealous, I want to ask you, because the death penalty came up last night at the Republican presidential debate at the Reagan Library. Brian Williams posed a question about it to Texas Governor Rick Perry.


BRIAN WILLIAMS: Your state has executed 234 death row inmates, more than any other governor in modern times. Have youhave you struggled to sleep at night with the idea that any one of those might have been innocent?

GOV. RICK PERRY: No, sir, I've never struggled with that at all. The state of Texas has a very thoughtful, a very clear process in place, of which, when someone commits the most heinous of crimes against our citizensyou kill one of our children, you kill a police officer, you're involved with another crime and you kill one of our citizensyou will face the ultimate justice in the state of Texas. And that is, you will be executed.

BRIAN WILLIAMS: What do you make ofwhat do you make of that dynamic that just happened here, the mention of the execution of 234 people drew applause?

GOV. RICK PERRY: I think Americans understand justice. I think Americans are clearly, in the vast majority of cases, supportive of capital punishment, when you have committed heinous crimes against our citizens. And it's a state-by-state issue, but in the state of Texas our citizens have made that decision, and they made it clear. And they don't want you to commit those crimes against our citizens, and if you do, you will face the ultimate justice.


JUAN GONZALEZ: Ben Jealous, your reaction to not only Governor Perry's remarks, but the applause, which I think was the strongest applause, on the mention of how many people Texas had executed?

BENJAMIN JEALOUS: You know, the death penalty has long been a pillar of a certain type of politic in this country. The last live execution, you know, visible to the public, was in Owensboro, Kentucky. It attracted, I believe, 36,000 people. And so, it's a sort of populism.

But the reality is that with regards to this case, in Georgiayou know, his words were very important. He said, "If you kill somebody." The problem with Troy Davis is that now seven of the nine people whose testimony was the only thing that put him on death row say he didn't kill anybody. The jurors say they would not have voted to kill him today; if they knew what they knew now then, they wouldn't have done in it. The prosecutor has come forward and said that he has concerns. You know, the judge, in the last hearing, said the case against Troy was not ironclad. So, you know, in a way, Governor Perry makes the argument for why this case should not result in somebody being put to death. We don't know that Troy Davis killed anybody. In fact, the preponderance of the evidence suggests that he is absolutely innocent of this crime.

AMY GOODMAN: That was Ben Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP, one of the leading organizations in the campaign to stop the execution of Troy Davis, scheduled for the 21st of September.
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass
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#2
Incredibly, but perhaps predictably, the state of Georgia is about to execute an innocent man. All of the jurors now say they'd now vote for not-guilty [if they knew then what they know now]; all of the witnesses except one have changed their minds 180 degrees - the other witness is now believed to have been the real perpetrator of the crime.

It is still possible for the Board to reverse its decision, but there are less than 14 hours left. A sad indictment of the Amerikan 'legal' system....where so many innocent people are imprisoned or die. American's are blood thirsty for scapegoats, punishment - even if not for the real perpetrator, and death.

It has becoming a society based on the worst in humans - fear, greed, revenge, untruths, death, wars, etc. Very sad.

Cry my beloved county....in my lifetime I have seen you go from quite bad to worse...much worse! The future of America doesn't look bright to me. We are leading the World over 'the edge' on all 'fronts' - from morality to pollution to war. Thanatos is strong in America, and Justice very weak. If it can happen to Troy Davis, it can happen to everyone.....but most just think; 'it can't happen to me!"...
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass
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#3
Troy Davis and the History of Injustice in America

The history of justice in America is pocked with such deep institutional injustices that time and again we make a mockery of the word. From slavery to the War on Drugs, the powerful have trampled time and again on the weak.

Law and order masquerade as justice, and our prisons fill to the brim with young men, mostly black and Hispanic, mostly poor. Meanwhile, inner cities lie like sunken ruins across the wealthiest nation in the history of civilization, stomped upon by drug warriors and poverty and violence.

And though we accept the limitations of our government and of the good judgment of our leaders, we nevertheless believe in the infallibility of this system we call justice, but which is not justice, to hand down the most final sort of judgment a man could ever know.

Troy Davis, convicted over two decades ago of killing an off-duty cop, though much doubt has been cast upon his guilt and the methods which police and prosecutors used to secure his conviction, will be executed by the state of Georgia tomorrow. The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles has denied him clemency, and there are no other avenues left to save him.

In the end, I am not concerned so much with whether or not Davis is guilty or innocent. I am concerned with the uncertainty of his guilt. "I'm not for blood. I'm for justice," said the mother of the slain police officer. But we extract one or the other, not both. In a case where the blood may be that of an innocent, how can we call it justice?

Death is tragic. The death of Mark MacPhail is a tragedy that will never be undone. Not by blood, not by prison bars, not by time, not by proof that Davis is guilty or proof that he is innocent. But if we have even a glimmer of doubt about his guilt, there will be no justice in his death. If we have even a hint of uncertainty over whether this man did the deeds he was accused of, but which most of his accusers have since recanted, we should stay his execution.

But the history of justice in America is scarred across by such tragedies.
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass
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#4
Not In Our Name: Georgia Must Not Execute Troy Davis
Death Penalty, Prisoners and People at Risk, USA | Posted by: Brian Evans, September 20, 2011 at 8:44 AM

Outrageous. Simply outrageous.

Georgia's State Board of Pardons and Paroles has rejected Troy Davis' clemency petition. He faces execution on Wed., Sept. 21 at 7 pm EDT. We do not accept this decision and we will not quietly sit by. Join us by taking more action: demand that the Board reconsider its decision and demand that Chatham County (Savannah) District Attorney Larry Chisolm seek a withdrawal of the death warrant and support clemency himself.

This appalling decision renders meaningless the Board's 2007 vow to not permit an execution unless there is "no doubt" about guilt. The Troy Davis case is riddled with doubt. Most of the witnesses who testified against him have recanted, while others have pointed to an alternate suspect as the real killer.

Nearly a million supporters of human rights and justice have called for clemency in this case, so far. They believed in the common-sense notion that you should not execute someone when you can't be sure they are guilty.

Death penalty supporters like Bob Barr, former Texas Governor Mark White, and former FBI Director William Sessions also support clemency in this case, for the same reason. And at least three jurors from Davis' trial have asked for his execution to be called off. Putting Troy Davis to death would be a grave injustice to those jurors who believe they sentenced Davis to death based on questionable information.

The Board chose to ignore this huge number and wide range of voices, so we must raise our voices even more. Demand that Georgia authorities Stop This Execution.
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass
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#5
Troy Davis: Georgia rejects final death row appeal

Defence lawyers maintain that Davis is a victim of mistaken identity

The US state of Georgia has rejected a final clemency appeal for Troy Davis on the eve of his execution for the 1989 murder of an off-duty policeman.

The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles made its decision after hearing testimony from the victim's family, Davis' supporters and prosecutors.

He was sentenced in 1991 for killing Mark MacPhail but most of the witnesses have since changed their testimony.

Davis, 42, is due to face a lethal injection on Wednesday.

Defence lawyers said the appeal to the pardons board was the last option for Davis, who has been scheduled for execution four times in the past four years.

His legal team said in a statement they were "incredibly disappointed" by the decision as the prosecution's case "cannot resolve the significant, lingering doubts that exist here".
'Truth finally heard'

They called on District Attorney Larry Chisolm to vacate the death warrant and for the pardons board to reconsider their decision immediately.

Some 300 rallies, vigils and events for Troy Davis have occurred worldwide

Prosecutors insist they have no doubt that they charged the right person with the crime.

MacPhail's relatives were relieved at the parole board decision.

"Justice was finally served for my father," said Mark MacPhail Jr, the victim's son. "The truth was finally heard."

But Amnesty International, which has supported Davis in his wrongful conviction claim, called the decision "unconscionable".

Its USA director, Larry Cox, said in a statement: "Should Troy Davis be executed, Georgia may well have executed an innocent man and in so doing discredited the justice system."

Amnesty International and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People plan a demonstration in support of Davis on Tuesday evening.

Reverend Al Sharpton plans a midday vigil at the state prison in Jackson on Wednesday.

More than one million people worldwide have signed petitions for clemency in his case.

Pope Benedict XVI, former US President Jimmy Carter and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton are among those who have backed Davis, who has always maintained he is innocent.

His guilt has been questioned because seven of nine witnesses who helped convict him during the original trial have either changed their testimony or recanted.

No murder weapon was ever found and no DNA evidence or fingerprints conclusively linked Davis to the shooting.

At a rare 2010 innocence hearing - ordered by the US Supreme Court - two witnesses said they falsely incriminated Davis, while two others told the court another had confessed to being the actual killer.

US District Court Judge William T Moore Jr said there was not enough evidence to vindicate Davis or grant him a new trial.

Federal appeals courts and the Georgia Supreme Court have upheld Davis' conviction.
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass
Reply
#6
It's not looking good but I hope there is a last minute stay of execution. It really seems as if he is not guilty and even if any one is guilty the death penalty is not the solution. Terrible injustice.
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
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#7
America is simply a death machine...literally and figuratively. This man is clearly innocent; clearly in need of a new trial....but once caught in the machinery of the prison-state and death-machine, it appears there is no way out....the facts be damned!...America lives on mythology and prejudice. The fact he is black and in Georgia should not be overlooked! Never before have one million people signed a petition for anyone's clemency, or at least a new trial...but it was all ignored by white officials....and the murder victim was a white policeman....payback for the Civil Rights Movement....no matter who the new victim is, as long as he/she is Black.
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass
Reply
#8
Today's entire normal hour show was on Troy Davis on DN! They will be covering any last minute changes [appeals are in the works!] all day and will cover the execution, should it happen tonight EST........
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass
Reply
#9
Fate of Troy Anthony Davis Hangs in the Balance as Supporters Seek Last-Minute Halt to Execution

The State of Georgia is preparing to execute Troy Anthony Davis in one of the most high-profile executions in the United States in years. Davis is scheduled to be killed by lethal ejection at 7:00 p.m. EDT, one day after the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles rejected clemency. Democracy Now! will air a special broadcast from outside the prison in Jackson, Georgia, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. EDT. Davis was convicted of the 1989 killing of off-duty white police officer Mark MacPhail. Since then, seven of the nine witnesses have recanted their testimony, and there is no physical evidence tying Davis to the crime scene. In a new development, Davis has asked state prison officials and the pardons board to allow him to take a polygraph test today. Some supporters of Davis are now calling for a general strike or "sick out" by the staff at the Georgia prison where the execution is set to occur. We speak with Larry Cox, executive director of Amnesty International USA, and Robert Rooks, the director of the NAACP's Criminal Justice Program. "I have been working on the death penalty for more than 30 years," Cox says. "I've never seen a case where there is so much significant doubt about the guilt or innocence of the person that the state of Georgia wants to put to death." Rooks, who met with Davis in prison on Tuesday, says Davis is holding out hope to remain alive but says the fight against the death penalty should continue no matter the outcome. "You have a choice," Rooks quotes Davis as saying. "'You can either fold up your bags after tomorrow and go home, or you can stand and continue this fight."

AMY GOODMAN: We're broadcasting live from Atlanta, Georgia. Troy Anthony Davis is scheduled to be executed by the state of Georgia at 7:00 p.m. tonight. We will be reporting live from the prison grounds in Jackson, Georgia, where he's set to be put to death by lethal injection despite significant doubts about his guilt. We'll be broadcasting live from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Eastern [Daylight] Time in a special edition of Democracy Now! You can go to our website for more details. We'll be live-streaming there, and many radio and television stations around the country and around the world will be broadcasting the special that we do today.

And today on Democracy Now!, I'm joined by Democracy Now! producer Renée Feltz, who has spent years covering the death penalty. Renée, it's great to have you co-hosting with us today.

RENÉE FELTZ: Thank you very much, Amy. And welcome to all of our listeners and viewers around the world.

The state of Georgia is preparing to execute Troy Davis tonight in one of the most high-profile executions in the United States in years. Davis is scheduled to be killed by lethal injection at 7:00 p.m. Eastern time tonight. On Tuesday, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole rejected clemency for Davis, sparking a new round of protests. An editorial in today's New York Times described the ruling as "a grievous wrong" and "a tragic miscarriage of justice."

Davis was convicted of the 1989 killing of an off-duty white police officer named Mark MacPhail. Since then, seven of the nine witnesses have recanted their testimony, and there is no physical evidence tying Davis to the crime scene. In a new development, Davis has asked state prison officials and the pardons board to allow him to take a polygraph test today.

AMY GOODMAN: Some supporters of Troy Davis are now calling for a general strike or "sick out" by the staff at the Georgia prison where the execution will occur. Amnesty International, the NAACP and numerous other groups have called for clemency. According to Amnesty International, nearly one million people have signed a petition seeking clemency. Among those questioning Davis's death sentence are former FBI director William Sessions, the Pope, former President Jimmy Carter, and the Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa.

Prosecutors and relatives of the slain police officer, Mark MacPhail, say they have no doubt the right man is being punished. On Tuesday, the prosecutor in Davis's case spoke out for the first time. Former District Attorney Spencer Lawton claimed the doubt about the Troy Davis case has been largely manufactured. Lawton said, quote, "There are two Troy Davis cases. One is the case in court. One is the case in the realm of public relations."

Well, Troy Davis is scheduled to spend six hours with his family today, from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m., at the Jackson, Georgia, facility. He's declined to have a special last meal. Instead, he will eat what's on tonight's menu at the prison: a cheeseburger, potatoes, baked beans, coleslaw, cookies and a grape drink. That's the information that the prison has put out to reporters.

We're joined now by two guests: Larry Cox, executive director of Amnesty International USA, and Robert Rooks, director of Criminal Justice Department at the NAACP.

We welcome you both to Democracy Now! It's very good to have you with us. Larry, let's begin with you. There was a major protest yesterday here in Atlanta. We are all now headed to Jackson, Georgia, after this broadcast, where the scheduled execution will take place, unless it is stopped. What are the ways it can be stopped?

LARRY COX: Well, the lawyers are still trying to put in a petition to the courts to try to stop it, to go to the Supreme Court. They arewe are calling on the district attorney to do something to vacate the death warrant, to at least postpone it, so that a way can be found to permanently stop this execution.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you

LARRY COX: And we are asking the clemency board, of course, to reconsider its position. We're not giving up.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you quickly, in a nutshell, go through the trajectory of this case? 1989, Mark MacPhail is killed. He was trying to help a homeless man who was being pistol-whipped in a parking lot, and he was shot dead.

LARRY COX: Yeah, in '91, there was a trial. He was convicted.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Troy.

LARRY COX: But since then, the caseand even then, the case depended heavilyor not heavily, almost exclusivelyon eyewitness testimony. There was no forensic evidence linking him, as you've already stated. And immediately, the case began to unravel. As you know, seven of nine witnesses have recanted or contradicted their testimony. One of the ones who has not, of course, is Sylvester Coles, who was the one who pointed the finger at Troy Davis, even though he himself admitted that he hadwas carrying a gun that was the kind of gun that killed Officer Mark MacPhail. And now, of course, 10 witnesses have come forward

AMY GOODMAN: That's Sylvester Coles carrying the gun.

LARRY COX: Sylvester Coles, that's right. And now Sylvester Coles10 witnesses have come forward implicating Sylvester Coles, including eyewitnesses who say they saw him do this killing. So, I have been coveringworking on the death penalty for more than 30 years. I've never seen a case where there is so much significant doubt about the guilt or innocence of the person that the state of Georgia wants to put to death.

RENÉE FELTZ: And Larry Cox, with Amnesty International, a lot of people look at Troy Davis's case over the case and say the Supreme Court granted him a new hearing. Can you clarify, was that a new trial in which he was able to explain his innocence? Talk us through that.

LARRY COX: No, that was the reverse of the way we would do a trial. Instead of having to prove reasonable doubt in that evidentiary hearingit was not a new trial, it was an evidentiary hearingTroy Davis, in effect, had to prove his innocence, and not just beyond a reasonable doubt. He had to almost give an absolute proof that he was innocent. It was an incredibly high standard that probably none of us could meet. And the judge acknowledged that there were doubts that were raised about the case, but he felt there were not enough doubts to warranthe had not proven his innocence, let me put it like that. So it reversed the normal standard, which is, of course, that you are innocent until proven guilty. This was he had to prove his innocence.

AMY GOODMAN: Robert Rooks, the NAACP has long been involved with this, taken it on as a major cause within the organization. In fact, Ben Jealous, who was just on with us a few days ago, is meeting with Troy today, is that right?

ROBERT ROOKS: That is correct. President Jealous went along with the family to Jackson to meet with Troy, to spend some time with him, to give him counsel and support.

RENÉE FELTZ: And Mr. Rooks, youperhaps you could explain how some of these eyewitnesses who originally testifiedhow there has been concern about whether or not they were pressured to give the testimony. And I've read about how some of the ways that these individuals were guided might not be allowed anymore due to changes in Georgia law, and if the same procedures were used in the case, say, after those laws were passed, that Troy Davis may not have been able to have been convicted. Can you talk about that?

ROBERT ROOKS: Well, I actually can take it a step further. I met with the district attorney at the end of June, requesting for him to not petition the judge to grant the death warrant for Troy. And in that meeting, the district attorney said that if this case was before him today, that it would not be a death case, that it would be a life-without-parole case for him. However, that's not the job in front of him, that he had to make the case for death. Now, I don't understand the difference. If it's not a death case, then it shouldn't be a death case. But I think what he was alluding to was the fact that life without parole was not possible in 1991, so therefore he felt he had to advocate for death.

I met with one of the witnesses yesterday. She was scared out of her mind but felt like she had to do the right thing by pointing the finger at Sylvester Coles. She was ran out of Savannah. Her house was trashed. She was threatened because she was coming forward. These are the things that are happening. And we just need to acknowledge that and continue the fight to try to keep Troy from being executed today.

AMY GOODMAN: There was the issue of the eyewitnesses recanting or contradicting their testimony, and then there's the issue of the jurors, who basically say, if they knew then what they know now, they would have not said that Troy Davis was guilty.

ROBERT ROOKS: Correct.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about the significance of this? And does this weigh in, in any way?

ROBERT ROOKS: Well, unfortunately, it seemed to have not weighed in with the Board of Pardon and Parole. But we believe it's very significant. What the jurors was tellingif you look at the overall story, they were saying that they were being coerced, they were being forced. Some of them was in compromising situation with the criminal justice system already. They did not feel like they had a leg to stand on, so they agreed to fingering Troy as the shooter. So, that's the overall story that the jurorsI mean, that the witnesses are telling and that the jurors are now responding to.

And if you look at similar situations, like in Dallas with Craig Watkins, where over 20-something exonerations have happened, there are similar stories during this time period, where law enforcement was coercing or zealous prosecutors were identifying the wrong people. This is part of a national narrative that I think needs to come out more about what was going on in our criminal justice system during that time.

AMY GOODMAN: Larry Cox, can you talk about how the death penalty is seen around the world? You are with Amnesty International, an international organization. Where we stand in the United States?

LARRY COX: Well, we stand in a terrible position, and a very isolated position. More than two-thirds of the world's nations have either abolished the death penalty in law or in fact never use it. Only five nations in the worldfive nationsaccount for more than 90 percent of all the executions that take place in the world, and one of those five nations is the United States.

AMY GOODMAN: The others?

LARRY COX: The others are China, Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. That's the kind of company we are keeping as a nation. Most countries that have lookedall countries that have really examined this issue have come to the same conclusion, that it's useless in fighting crime, that rather than serve justice, it makes a mockery of justice. And they've done away with it. There have been no increases in the rise of homicides because of that. People still feel that justice is done in these cases, so you do not need to kill prisoners to bring justice to a family like the MacPhail family, that certainly deserves justice.

RENÉE FELTZ: And just very briefly, it's interesting that we're here in Georgia, and there was a case in 1972 that looked at the unfair application, the unequal application of the death penalty, Georgia v. Furman. Just very briefly, perhaps we could touch on that, since we're here in Georgia. PerhapsI don't know who's most familiar, perhaps you, Mr. Rooks, or Mr. Cox, with Amnesty International, Larry Cox?

LARRY COX: Well, Georgia is, for some reason, a very significant state. It was the state, as you say, that in that case actually did away with the death penalty for a time.

AMY GOODMAN: For the entire country.

LARRY COX: For the entire country. And it was also the case thatlater, that brought the death penalty back, when the court decided that it could be fixed, that somehow there was a way to kill human beings that would be fair. And we know now, from long, painful experience, that that's not the case. But Georgia has played this role. And I believe, actually, that this case, which has galvanized public opinion all around the worldI mean, it's not hyperbole, it's not an exaggeration, to say that the eyes of the world are upon Georgia right now. I believe this case will be, in time, when we look back, the turning point in finally doing away with the death penalty altogether in this country.

AMY GOODMAN: I mean, Robert Rooks, you have everyone from the Archbishop of South Africa, former Archbishop of South Africa, retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu, to the former FBI director, William Sessions; Bob Barr, the former Republican Congress member right here from Georgia; former Democratic President Jimmy Carter. All of them have called for clemency for Troy Davis.

ROBERT ROOKS: Absolutely. And I actually spent some time with Troy yesterday, going to visit him. He said something that stuck with me. He said that on death row it is better for someone that is guilty than someone that's innocent to be on death row. He has seen so many people that were on death row that have walked out of death row because they've admitted to their guilt, while he stands true on his innocence.

AMY GOODMAN: Explain that. I don't understand.

ROBERT ROOKS: Well, that's what he was explaining, that he has been there for 22 years, and there have been a number of death row cases and individuals on death row, and he has seen people, that later admitted to their guilt, walk out of death row, people that he's known, people that he's communicated with, that have walked out of death row. But he has maintained his innocence, and now he's facing death today.

AMY GOODMAN: Tell us about this visit you had with Troy yesterday.

ROBERT ROOKS: It was a visitour team, that has been working on the campaign, felt that it was important to go see Troy. We have a team of senior staff, interns, staff support, a group of about eight of us. And we spent some good time, about 20 minutes, with Troy. It was a contact visit, so we were able to hug him and sit down and talk with him. And, you know, for someone that was facing death the very next day, he was just full of life and wanted to spend time talking to the younger staff, the interns, giving them direction and hope and asking them to hold onto God. And he challenged them. He challenged them by saying, "You have a choice. You can either fold up your bags after tomorrow and go home, or you can stand and continue this fight." He said it doesn'tit didn't begin with Troy Davis, and this won't end if he is executed today. He just asked us all just to continue to fight to end the death penalty, if in fact he's executed.

AMY GOODMAN: Is he holding out hope?

ROBERT ROOKS: Absolutely.

AMY GOODMAN: And did he talk about the significance of saying he would take a lie detector test today?

ROBERT ROOKS: He did not. He did not communicate that with us. But he absolutely is holding out hope. He mentioned that, you know, it's really in God's hands at this point. And he held onto that.

AMY GOODMAN: Did he talk about the MacPhails, the MacPhail family?

ROBERT ROOKS: No, he didn't talk about the MacPhail family at all. You know, every time you go visit Troy or talk to him on the phone, he does talk about the case and talks about where he was and where other people were, and just how it's hard to understand how the Georgia Pardon and Paroles would come to this decision. So, he doeshe does talk about that a lot, but not about the MacPhails.

RENÉE FELTZ: I want to read an update just filed by the Associated Press. Attorneys for Troy Davis are filing a last-minute appeal to halt his execution later today, which would otherwise take place at 7:00 p.m. Eastern time tonight. Now, his defense attorney, Brian Kammer, has told the Associated Press he's going to file the appeal in Butts County Superior Court

LARRY COX: Right.

RENÉE FELTZ: when it opens later today. Where are we in terms of the final steps that can be taken here?

AMY GOODMAN: Larry Cox?

LARRY COX: Well, if that is rejected in Butts County, it will then go to the U.S. Supreme Court, and the U.S. Supreme Court, of course, could stop the execution. They always can. And they have. You know, Troy was within hours of being executed, you know, when the Supreme Court stepped in and said, "No, there's too much doubt here," and called for the kind of hearing that we discussed earlier. So it could happen. It's never too late. This is a planned killing, so there is time for human beings to say, "We don't want this to happen in our"

RENÉE FELTZ: And how late could that take place?

LARRY COX: Veryright to the last minute. Right to the last minute.

AMY GOODMAN: Is any member of Troy's family going to be at the execution, if it is carried out? Do you know this?

ROBERT ROOKS: Inside of the facility?

AMY GOODMAN: Yes.

ROBERT ROOKS: No. No, they will not. We will be all at a church nearby, about a quarter mile from the prison.

RENÉE FELTZ: And is that a choice or a rule by the prison?

ROBERT ROOKS: I believethat's their choice. That's where they want to be, with loved ones and people that care for them.

RENÉE FELTZ: And you mentioned tonight. Can you talk about what's planned outside the prison in Jackson, Georgia, where he's set to be killed?

ROBERT ROOKS: Absolutely. There's a day long of activities. The National Action Network, they're planning a vigil at 12:00 noon. NAACP and Amnesty will be holding a press conference, where we have called civil rights leaders from across the country to come to Jackson to join us and have a call to action to end the death penalty and to stop the execution of Troy Davis. So, who hasthose that have agreed to come has been Reverend Jackson, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Marc Morial, the head of the National Baptist Progressive Convention. And we're continuing to get names every hour. So we're glad to see people respond to this call to action, and we hope to make a clarion call at 3:00. At 5:00, the family will only make a statement. And then we will have prayer service from 6:00 all the way up until 7:00.

LARRY COX: And I'd just like to add that I think people whofor whom an execution is something abstract or have never been close to one, don't realize how grotesque it is and how cruel it is, not only on the family of the condemned man, but also on the family of the victim, if you think of the MacPhail family, who for 22 years have seen this sort of circus come up and down, and back and forth. And so, instead of people having the chance to mourn, really mourn, the loved one and remember him and honor him, they've been caught up in this grotesque circus. And that happens all of the time. And whether theythe family is against the death penalty, as many families of murder victims are, or whether they're for it, it doesn't matter. It's also cruel to the family to toy with those feelings, to keep that kind of terrible manipulation of very sincere and genuine feelings.

RENÉE FELTZ: This is the fourth time that Troy Davis has had an execution scheduled.

LARRY COX: That's right.

AMY GOODMAN: Can President Obama weigh in here?

LARRY COX: Well, of course he could weigh in. I don't think he can, himself, you know, stop the execution. This is now up to the courts. But he could certainly weigh in. I think President Obama's position on the death penalty is not an abolitionist position, but as you pointed out, there many people who support the death penalty, like Bob Barr, who have said, even if you support the death penalty, this cannot be the kind of case that the death penalty should be used for. So, President Obama could say that. He certainly has spoken out on other issues. And we wish he would.

AMY GOODMAN: We want to thank you both for being with us. Democracy Now! will be covering this through the day. And again, tonight, from 6:00 to 8:00 Eastern time, we'll be broadcasting live from the prison grounds, just across the street from the church, where those who are for and against the death penalty, and those who are for the death penalty but against the execution of Troy Davis, will be gathered. And we'll be bringing out those voices. Go to our website at democracynow.org. Our guests have been Larry Cox, director of Amnesty International USA, and Robert Rooks, director of Criminal Justice Department of the NAACP. Robert Rooks has just come from visiting with Troy Davis on death row.
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass
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#10
Let me be clear: In the final analysis, the guilt or innocence of Mr. Davis should be irrelevant to our fight against the death penalty.

A fight to the life!
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