Troy Davis, who was sentenced to death in 1991 for the fatal shooting of Georgia police officer Mark Allen MacPhail in 1989, has been given another chance.
Earlier today, the Supreme Court ordered a District Court in Georgia to look at new evidence and hear new testimony in Davis’ case. Since the 1991 conviction, seven eyewitnesses for the prosecution have recanted their testimony regarding the incident. Some other persons have also stated that one of the witnesses, Sylvester “Redd” Coles, was the actual shooter instead of Davis.
The case has attracted attention from across the world, as many prominent persons and organizations, including the NAACP, President Jimmy Carter, Pope Benedict XVI, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and Reverend Al Sharpton (of course), have called for a re-hearing of the case.
Fortunately, their wish was granted. Justice Antonin Scalia, however, dissented from the order, writing the following:
The Court proceeds down this path even though every judicial and executive body that has examined [Davis’] stale claim of innocence has been unpersuaded… Transferring this case to a court that has no power to grant relief is strange enough. It becomes stranger still when one realizes that the allegedly new evidence we shunt off to be examined by the District Court has been considered (and rejected) multiple times.
The Atlanta Progressive News, however, analyzed the legal history of Davis’ case, and found that “no court actually considered the evidence in the context of innocence claims, even though it was presented to them.” But Justice Clarence Thomas still agreed with Scalia, and dissented from the order as well. Why am I not surprised…
(To read more on this story, click here.)