Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Court Slams Troy Davis’ Quest to Prove Innocence

A federal judge ruled that Troy Anthony Davis failed to prove his innocence after the U.S. Supreme Court gave him a rare opportunity to clear his name.

Davis was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to death in 1991 for the slaying of off-duty police officer Mark MacPhail, who was shot while rushing to aid a homeless man being attacked outside a bus station.

The Supreme Court's decision to grant Davis an evidentiary hearing was extraordinary because federal death penalty appeals normally look only at questions of due process and constitutional violations, not guilt or innocence. The Court's order granting Davis a hearing was the first time in 50 years the high court had issued such an order.

To read more about the hearing please see these links to previous posts on this blog:

After hearing two days of testimony in June, U.S. District Judge William T. Moore Jr. found that Davis is not entitled to a new trial or dismissal of the charges.
"After careful consideration and an in-depth review of twenty years of evidence," wrote Judge Moore, "the Court is left with the firm conviction that while the State's case may not be ironclad, most reasonable jurors would again vote to convict Mr. Davis of Officer MacPhail's murder. A federal court simply cannot interpose itself and set aside a jury verdict in this case absent a truly persuasive showing of innocence. To act contrarily would wreck complete havoc on the criminal justice system."

"Ultimately," concluded Judge Moore, "while Mr. Davis's new evidence casts some additional, minimal doubt on his conviction, it is largely smoke and mirrors. The vast majority of the evidence at trial remains intact and the new evidence is largely not credible or lacking in probative value."

According to the Fulton County Daily Report, Judge Moore's order suggested he viewed his role in the case as that of a "magistrate" for the Supreme Court, with any appeal to go directly to the Supreme Court, and he directed the district court clerk to forward the order to the justices.

The ruling against Davis sets the stage for Georgia officials to move forward with scheduling an execution date.

To read more:

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