What follows is a comment about the injustice surrounding the Troy Davis case left by Stephen Matlock at Emily L. Hauser’s blog, In My Head:
Well, we had a short writing session yesterday in a symposium I attended, “Social Media for Social Justice.”
Here’s what I wrote:
More than 20 years ago on a hot muggy night Officer Mark MacPhail worked as a security officer at a fast-food restaurant. An altercation outside escalated, as often happens when people are tired and angry. Officer MacPhail intervened, and two shots ended his life.
A man now sits in a Georgia State Prison awaiting execution for that crime. All is in order, rules followed, jurors instructed, penalty phases adjudicated. And Troy Davis,
1312 days away from his own death, awaits the response to his near-futile pleas for clemency.
Seven of nine witnesses against him have recanted. Physical evidence does not connect him to the crime. Indeed, one witness has boasted of the crime himself. There is doubt, more than reasonable doubt, that Troy Davis was responsible. We say that for a capital crime that beyond reasonable doubt must prevail for justice to be done.
But Troy Davis will not receive justice in Georgia. We all know this. A man – a police officer – was killed doing the honorable thing, and someone must pay for that.
Troy Davis knows that simply to be identified and arrested for the murder of a police officer means guilt. We all know this is true. We know that victims of violent crime often do not receive justice or protection. We know that an inordinate number of alleged criminals are freed, only to repeat their crimes.
We know that when we finally do find someone guilty we want them to pay the price for crime. Any crime. Because then someone is punished and someone is avenged and justice is done.
1412 days we can find the next person who must pay the price and be punished, so the cycle can continue.
I cannot even express how much this case distresses me. I just can’t. So, I’m just going to tell you what you can do to help. Here’s a form email that you can use to circulate to any friends or family that are lawyers or judges:
I’ve recently gotten very involved with advocating for a man on Georgia’s death row who is almost certainly innocent, Troy Davis.
There’s no physical evidence linking him to the crime, 7 out of 9 eyewitnesses have recanted, one of the remaining witnesses has been implicated as the shooter, the State itself has withdrawn evidence – it goes on and on and on, frankly, and yet he’s exhausted the appeals process and has been given a final execution date of 9/21. (Here’s a great 60 second video on the case: It opens with a juror saying “If I knew then what I know now Troy Davis would not be on death row”) [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMgARJjdOgc&feature=player_embedded]
Amnesty is asking members of the legal community to join a sign-on letter, and in fact I was told this morning that that’s one of their biggest focuses (focii?) right now – they feel they need a few more hundred signatures before they present it to the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles in the coming days. [http://tiny.cc/Amnesty4Troy]
here’s a list of some prominent legal figures, including several former state Supreme Court justices, who have already come forward in support of clemency for Mr. Davis: [http://www.amnestyusa.org/sites/default/files/troylegalsupporters.pdf]
Please consider joining the sign-on letter, and please consider passing Amnesty’s request on to anyone else you know who might be willing to do so – especially if they happen to be in Georgia!
Thank you and sorry to rope you into a cause – it’s just that I’m so horrified by it that I’m reaching out as far and as wide as I can.
[image via Black Talk Radio Network]
UPDATE: Edited to remove an action step that has since been deemed counter-productive.