Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Troy Davis waits in limbo

Troy Davis was granted a stay by the 11th circuit which ran out almost two weeks ago. He has filed a petition with the Supreme Court of the United States, but there is no telling whether they will take the case, and if they do, which way they will rule. It could be weeks or months before they make a move. In the mean time, Troy Davis waits in a prison cell, put there for a crime he almost certainly didn't commit. Seven of the nine witnesses who testified against him – the nine witnesses that composed the entirety of the prosecution's case – have since recanted or contradicted their previous testimony. Still, Troy struggles in vain to have this new evidence heard in a court.

As Troy's case continues to draw attention, eyes are focusing on the new District Attorney in Savannah, Larry Chisolm, Chatham county's first black DA. This article from the Los Angeles Times plays up the racial implications and tensions running through Troy's case now that Chisolm is in power. (Troy, a black man, was convicted of shooting an off-duty white police officer in 1989.)

Though the compelling nature of the evidence that entitles Troy to a new trial transcends racial boundaries, the LA Times does not overlook the complications stemming from Chisolm's race. The article quickly moves, however, to its main focus, which is whether DA Chisolm would have the power to intervene, should the Supreme Court render the expected denial.

[Chisolm] could ask the state parole board to postpone the execution and open a new investigation, as Davis' attorneys have requested. That would be a bold move for a rookie elected official: Both the Georgia Supreme Court and the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals denied Davis a new trial, in part because courts view recantations as inherently suspect.
Chisolm finds himself in a difficult place, likely to anger blacks with nonintervention but irk conservatives and whites should he interpose himself and intervene. The world waits on tenterhooks for Chisolm – or less likely, the Supreme Court – to do the right thing.


1American4Justice said...

It always amazes me when CA picks up a story from another state about Death Row inmates. They have more problems than the state of Florida when it comes to inmates and prisons. It's always about what will be sensational news to sell a paper. The majority don't know what goes on in these prisons on a day to day basis.

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who testified against him..
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