On Tuesday, September 6, a Chatham County Superior Court judge put the final stamp on a 19-year battle to save the life of an innocent man from Georgia's executioner.
On that date, Judge Penny Freeseman signed a death warrant for Troy Anthony Davis, setting his execution between September 21 and September 28; the exact date will be decided by Georgia's Department of Corrections.
Freeseman's death warrant derives from a ruling by US District Judge William T. Moore Jr. that upheld Davis' conviction for killing a Savannah police officer in a bungled hold-up attempt. Subsequent to the jury's verdict, seven of nine witnesses came forward and recanted their testimony on the basis that they had been intimidated by the police. What's more, a new suspect, Sylvester “Redd” Coles, was identified as the actual shooter. But this was not enough for good ole boy Moore, a product of Southern justice.
The American system of justice turned a deaf ear to Davis, year after year, appeal after appeal. Seemingly, it is more important to demonstrate that the system “works” rather than that it unmasks the truth – no matter that the price is going to be the life of an innocent man, especially a black man. Lynching is alive and well in America – no matter that eminent figures from former-President Jimmy Carter to Pope Benedict have called out for justice in the case of Davis.
Judge Penny Freeseman's death warrant amounts to a license to murder. The Davis case cries out for a new trial with a change of venue to a state like New York where jurors can hear how Savannah cops extracted “testimony” from nine people who happened to be at the scene of the crime. Of course, this is not going to happen. Davis' final appeal to the Supreme Court was turned down without comment. Theoretically, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles can grant clemency, but it has already turned down Davis' appeal once and is unlikely to reverse itself. Moreover, their fax and email addresses are presently unresponsive. (However, Davis' sister, Kim Davis, has a petition at Change.org which she intends to present to the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles on Monday, September 19, at a hearing scheduled two days before Troy's execution. You may sign that appeal for clemency here.)
This means that, after 19 years, Davis will keep his appointment with the executioner. He will be strapped to a death gurney, catheters will be slid into his veins and deadly chemicals will be flooded into his circulatory system. If the execution is carried out properly, Davis will die uneventfully. Otherwise, he will die in agony. But whichever way he goes, Americans can rest assured that justice has been served, from the county courthouse all the way up to the Supreme Court – no matter that the verdict flies in the face of the evidence.
“Do not stand idly by while your neighbor's blood is shed.” (Leviticus 19:16)
The real shooter could possibly be tried by the Fed for violating his victim's civil rights. Truthout readers could deluge Attorney General Eric Holder with phone calls, telegrams and letters to open an investigation as soon as possible: 202-353-1555.