Truth to Power

Why is Troy Davis still on Georgia’s death row?

In Georgia, justice is still black and white

There are few places in America where it’s more difficult – politically and otherwise – to overturn a conviction than Georgia.

Just ask Troy Davis.

In the nearly two decades since he was convicted of the murder of police officer Mark MacPhail in a Savannah, Ga., parking lot, he has watched as one eyewitness after another recanted their claims of having seen Davis commit the murder; he has garnered the support of numerous high-profile political figures, including Jimmy Carter; and protests have been held in his name across the US and even in Europe. Yet none of that has helped the 40-year-old escape death row.

The eyewitnesses’ recanting of their testimony in this case is crucial, because Davis’ trial “was actually entirely witness testimony based. There was no forensic evidence, no security camera footage and no murder weapon (which has never been recovered),” wrote Davis’ sister, Martina Davis-Correia, in the UK’s Guardian last month.

The pressure to release Davis puts Savannah’s D.A., Larry Chisholm, an elected official, in “a tight spot,” says an analysis in the L.A. Times. The article argues – albeit circuitously – that Georgia’s race-tinted politics make it difficult for Chisholm, or anyone, to re-open the investigation into the MacPhail murder and Davis’ conviction.

Reopening the case could also risk alienating white and conservative voters and complicate Chisolm’s relationship with the police force. But if Chisolm fails to intervene, “that would be very unpopular to a lot of black folk,” said the Rev. Matthew Southall Brown, a longtime black leader in Savannah.

The idea that an innocent black man may be sent to his death because pardoning black people is politically unpopular in Georgia may be understandably unpalatable to many, but that is the challenge facing Davis and his supporters.</em>

Rarely have I as a Georgian- hell, as a human- read a more repugnant sentence. Fuck conservative voters and the racist “that boy gotta be guilty of sumptin” white people of Savannah. This is a man’s life we’re talking about.


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