Troy Davis faces execution in Georgia for the 1989 murder of a police officer, despite the fact that key witnesses from his trial have recanted, some claiming to have been coerced into implicating Davis by the police.

SAVANNAH, Ga. — A Georgia man is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection on Tuesday for killing a police officer in 1989, even though the case against him has withered in recent years as most of the key witnesses at his trial have recanted and in some cases said they lied under pressure from police.

Prosecutors discount the significance of the recantations and argue that it is too late to present such evidence. But supporters of Troy Davis, 38, and some legal scholars say the case illustrates the dangers wrought by decades of Supreme Court decisions and new laws that have rendered the courts less likely to overturn a death sentence.

“Too late”? Half their case has fallen apart because their witnesses have either admitted to lying or being coerced by the cops into fingering Davis, but prosecutors believe that an innocent man should be executed for a crime he didn’t commit because it’s “too late”?

Three of four witnesses who testified at trial that Davis shot the officer have signed statements contradicting their identification of the gunman. Two other witnesses — a fellow inmate and a neighborhood acquaintance who told police that Davis had confessed to the shooting — have said they made it up.

This is a case for a pardon if we’ve ever seen one. Unfortunately, politicians tend to save those for their friends rather than people who have been wrongly convicted of a crime. If the case of Assata Shakur has taught us anything, it’s that the flimsiness of a case against a black person for killing a police officer is not enough to supercede the state’s desire to murder someone in response, especially if that person is black.

For those angered by the Jena Six,
you should understand; this is the way criminal justice still functions in the United States in the new millenium. The strongest evidence any individual can have for or against their innocence is the color of their skin.

Especially in front of George Bush’s Supreme Court, which has approved the state-sponsored lynching of Troy Davis. From Amnesty International:

Amnesty International is deeply disappointed with today’s Supreme Court ruling that permits the execution of Troy Anthony Davis in Georgia. The organization maintains that evidence in his favor, which has never been heard in a courtroom, is enough to demonstrate that Davis should be granted a new hearing.”

The Supreme Court decision is proof-positive that justice truly is blind — blind to coerced and recanted testimony, blind to the lack of a murder weapon or physical evidence and blind to the extremely dubious circumstances that led to this man’s conviction,” said Larry Cox, executive director of Amnesty International USA (AIUSA). “At times there are cases that are emblematic of the dysfunctional application of justice in this country. By refusing to review serious claims of innocence, the Supreme Court has revealed catastrophic flaws in the U.S. death penalty machine.”

What? You thought that the Supreme Court’s hostility to African Americans was limited to education? This is America. We don’t do anything halfway here.

What I want to know is given that conservatives have shown how concerned they are recently about excessive sentences and fair trials, where are the calls for Troy Davis’ presidential pardon?

UPDATE: Howling Latina has been blogging extensively on the subject of Troy Davis.

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