The story of death row inmate Troy Davis is yet another example of a brother being caught up in the belly of the beast and should serve as a marker to show just how a poor black man is totally at the mercy of lazy prosecutors and coercing law enforcement when it comes to justice.
And though justice appears to have been a long time coming for Davis, it appears as though he will get another shot at redemption.
The US Supreme Court on Monday ordered that Troy Davis, a high-profile death row inmate, should receive a new hearing to determine whether evidence not available at his trial could prove him innocent.
“The district court should receive testimony and make findings of fact as to whether evidence that could have been obtained at the time of the trial clearly establishes petitioner’s innocence,” the court said. Davis, who is black, was sentenced to death in 1989 for the murder of Mark Allen MacPhail, a white policeman, in Savannah, Georgia.
He has always proclaimed his innocence. The weapon used in the murder was never found, and neither DNA nor fingerprints implicated Davis in the crime. In 1981, nine witnesses testified against him, but seven of them have said that they were pressured by police to incriminate Davis. One of the two witnesses who has not retracted or altered his testimony was the primary other suspect in the murder.
In April, a federal appeals court in Atlanta rejected his request for a new trial, saying his case failed to meet requirements. It is rare for the Supreme Court to hand down such high-profile decisions during their recess, which officially lasts until October 5.
“Mr Davis’ execution without a full and fair hearing in which he could make a truly persuasive demonstration that he is actually innocent will violate his federal constitutional rights to due process and freedom from cruel and unusual punishment,” lawyers for Davis had argued in a May filing before the Supreme Court.