Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Georgia Cleared to Schedule Troy Davis' Execution

The U.S. Supreme Court recently rejected Troy Davis' appeal clearing the way for state authorities to schedule his execution. Davis was given a rare chance to argue his innocence but failed to convince a federal judge he was wrongly convicted of the 1989 murder of a Savannah police officer, according to the Associated Press.

Davis had long claimed he could clear his name in the officer's death if a court would give him the chance to hear new evidence. The U.S. Supreme Court in 2009 agreed he should be able to argue his innocence, a rare chance afforded no other American death row defendant in at least 50 years.

During two days of testimony in June, U.S. District Judge William T. Moore Jr. heard from two witnesses who said they falsely incriminated Davis and two others who said another man had confessed to being MacPhail's killer in the years since Davis' trial, reported the Associated Press.

Moore concluded last August that several of the witnesses had already backed off their incriminating statements during the 1991 trial — so it wasn't new evidence — and that others simply couldn't be believed. According to the Associated Press, he ruled that while the evidence casts some additional doubt on the conviction, "it is largely smoke and mirrors" and not nearly strong enough to prove Davis' innocence.

Davis sought to appeal Moore's decision, but the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals refused to hear the challenge in November. The Supreme Court then rejected the appeal on Monday, offering no elaboration.

There is one problem, the decision has come at an inopportune time for Georgia authorities, who have set three previous execution dates for Davis since 2007 only to have each postponed so judges could review the case. According to the Associated Press, last month federal regulators seized the state's entire stockpile of sodium thiopental, a sedative used in the three-drug lethal injection cocktail, amid questions about how the state obtained it.

That means prison officials can not schedule Davis' execution until the Drug Enforcement Administration concludes its investigation or Georgia switches to another drug. Arizona, Texas and Ohio have already switched to another sedative, pentobarbital, amid a nationwide supply shortage.

To read more: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gSui6Jh-xvPZ0AGSi-sxCiCumrHg?docId=5769560dcfe4494998161d5504a24753

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