John Lewis, Hank Johnson, David Scott, Sanford Bishop seek clemency for Troy Davis

The Georgia members of Congress have asked the state Board of Pardons and Paroles to grant clemency for Troy Davis, who is scheduled to face execution next week the 1989 killing of off-duty Savannah Police Officer Mark Allen MacPhail.

Hank Johnson of Decatur, John Lewis and David Scott of Atlanta, and Sanford Bishop of Albany, all Democrats, put their signatures to the letter that can be read here. A total of four dozen members of Congress signed.

Among the letter’s points:

“It is clear now that the doubts plaguing Davis’s case can never be adequately addressed; the lack of hard scientific or relevant physical evidence has made it impossible to resolve with any degree of certainty.

“Over the last four years, the inability of our courts to resolve these uncertainties has shaken public confidence in our judicial system, and an execution under such a cloud of doubt would do nothing but further undermine that confidence. Public faith in the integrity of justice in Georgia is at stake and it is for this reason that we urge you to grant clemency for Troy Davis.”

Many others have argued for a commutation of Davis’s death sentence, including former President Jimmy Carter.

Worth noting is the absence of a signature from one Georgia Democrat — John Barrow — on the letter mentioned above.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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89 comments Add your comment

SWATS Guy

September 12th, 2011
3:46 pm

If 7 and that is Seven of the witnesses recanted isn’t that reason enough to hold off?

lee

September 12th, 2011
4:16 pm

this animal needs todie now!!! john lewis need to shut up and focus on jobs not helping a killer!

Phil Lunney

September 12th, 2011
4:24 pm

With the recent findings about how unreliable “eye witness” testimony is, in general, this sentence should not result in death. I understand that an officer was killed and his family wants closure, but this conviction does not seem to pass the “reasonable doubt” qualifications. I support the effort for clemency, but I do not have a reasonable hope that it will occur.

RGB

September 12th, 2011
4:24 pm

So if the 7 and that is Seven witnesses lied then, perhaps the 7 and that is Seven are lying now. If they re-recanted would you believe them then?

I never heard a reason as to why the witnesses claim they lied then and now claim they aren’t lying. Were they held at gunpoint and forced to lie? Were all of their family members threatened? Why after 22 years should we believe them? Is the crime now fresher in their memory?

I wish John Lewis et. al would focus like a laser beam on getting their president to stop destroying the economy instead of chasing cases that have been adequately adjudicated.

Davis has had every appeal opportunity but justice has spoken.

Remember Savannah Police Officer Mark Allen MacPhail.

Browncoat

September 12th, 2011
4:29 pm

Andrew D

September 12th, 2011
4:32 pm

If there is any doubt that this man did not committ this crime why not commute his sentence to life in prison. I’m not saying that the death of a police officer isn’t worth the death sentence. But what if somewhere down the road we find out that something was overlooked. Can we bring this man back from the grave? Too many people are fighting for this man, that alone should tell us something. As for as John Lewis is concern, he’s able to do both while foucing on the end results of each. How many men and women have been executed and we founded out later that they shouldn’t been.

Rick

September 12th, 2011
4:33 pm

Perhaps these members of Congress should use their official letterhead, positions, power and time to work on the problems of this nation rather than attempting to use their positions to influence our parole board.

Don’t think that these liberal members of Congress would stop here if the Georgia Parole Board commutes Davis’ sentence to life without parole. I am certain that they won’t rest until he is a free man, despite the findings of a trial jury and numerous appellate courts, including the US Supreme Court. The only public confidence that has been shaken is the confidence of anti-death penalty activists and those they have recruited to support their cause.

Shame on them for using their official positions to attempt to influence the decisions of our state officials of a matter of local, not federal, concern. Disgusting.

SouthGeorgiaDawg

September 12th, 2011
4:38 pm

To me the recanting of the testimony by the witnesses and now the testimony by one person that another person that was present and has been a suspect bragged about being the actual killer would make me have reasonable doubt about Mr. Davis’ guilt. Any reasonable person would have the same reaction. I hope to see the day when Georgia does away with the death penalty because the possiblity of executing an innocent person is too great and a simple sorry our mistake want bring back the innocent.

GA_Law

September 12th, 2011
4:51 pm

If Jimmy Carter is asking for the sentence to be commuted, then I am against it being commuted

NameRequired

September 12th, 2011
4:52 pm

Seven witnesses did not recant. Read the trial transcripts or the many judge’s orders and opinions in this case, not the news stories. There is physical evidence from an eairler shooting that night in East Savannah that links Tory Davis to the death of Officer McPhail and supports the guilty verdict. The rule of law should prevail.

The Anti-Wooten

September 12th, 2011
4:52 pm

@RGB, if you’d read anything other than Wingfield and Wooten then you might know that the person that many suspect is the actual killer was an extremely violent person in the neighborhood where this happened. He has in the past threatened people that were witnesses against him. So yes, there are very valid reasons why people may have lied.

Armedice

September 12th, 2011
4:57 pm

7 people didn’t recant. That is a lie. Everyone supporting this guy is a liberal and they always side with evil. Therefore Troy must be guilty…

James

September 12th, 2011
5:01 pm

I wonder if these racists hypocrites would be so eager to defend Davis if he were white!! Oh, I’m sure that race has nothing to do with it!

November 6, 2012

September 12th, 2011
5:07 pm

Why am I not surprised…….these people are “Racists” with a capital “R”.

bhowle

September 12th, 2011
5:10 pm

John Lewis cant help it if he was WHITE would we be puting his 2 cent worth in.

Steve

September 12th, 2011
5:11 pm

Just the chance of killing an innocent person, makes me sick. The society we live in disgusts me.

Tilli

September 12th, 2011
5:13 pm

Fry his guilty butt. He killed a cop. This revisionist BS.

NameRequired is correct. Read the actual trial notes, not Jimmy Carter & Cos version.

cop killers deserve to die

September 12th, 2011
5:21 pm

cop killers deserve to die a slow and excruciatingly painful death – ’nuff said

me

September 12th, 2011
5:22 pm

Rick…What a JackAss! You do show that you have absolutely no knowledge of the American Justice System!!!!

BIg Hat

September 12th, 2011
5:22 pm

9 out of 10 GOP scientists agree: pain, suffering an death are good for you. Political scientists, that is.

Howard

September 12th, 2011
5:24 pm

When I read the headline, without even looking at the article, I knew the petitioners for clemency had to have been black, liberal Democrats…voila I was right. Jimmy Carter adding to the cries for this murdering cop killer to escape the death penalty only added to the reasons I am sure he was guilty as hell. Why do Democrats always support criminals, terrorists, deadbeats and perverts?? Must be in the genes I guess…

Ellen

September 12th, 2011
5:26 pm

Do you really want to risk making a mistake with a man’s life? What kind of God do you believe in that makes taking such a chance OK?

Bob

September 12th, 2011
5:29 pm

Read John Grishom’s latest book.

Wally

September 12th, 2011
5:33 pm

I dont care if Troy Davis is Pink,Blue or RED. What does his color have to do with the fact he killed a police officer and was convicted of it.Appeals were heard and denied.You cannot recant your testimony,if you could everyone would use this tactic,especially after you agreed to tell the truth, the whole truth,so help you God.. Enough is enough,put the needle in that cop killer.It is inhumane to keep giving him a stay at the last minute before his execution days.

Barry Corker

September 12th, 2011
5:35 pm

Capitlal Punishment cases should and are settled with a beyond a reasonable doubt. This case is not a case about race. It is a case whereby our legal system should provide clemency with this high degree of ambiguous testimony from witnesses. I applaud congressmen, Hank Johnson, John Lewis and Sanford Bishop for stepping beyond the congressional veil and seek justice in this case.

Wally

September 12th, 2011
5:37 pm

Ellen, Maybe you should ask Troy that question? hmmm
Steve, I bet you would think different if it was your family member.
Let Jimmy Carter take his place. One great idea.

Jayone

September 12th, 2011
5:38 pm

Howard: Would you please pull your head out of the what you sit in a chair on. What does color have to do with it. Thats why we as a people will never move on in this world. If there are witness who re-cant and the justices system doesnot believe in the defendant. Then just maybe the board should commute the sentence. This way if proof finally comes out that he did not comment this crime the State won’t look like IDIOTS. To which I think there are still some in this state.

findog

September 12th, 2011
5:40 pm

If the seven who recanted their testimony were willing to go to jail for perjury then I might consider a change to life without parole

Chuck

September 12th, 2011
5:43 pm

How many years of appeals does it take to execute a cop killer in Georgia? How much does it cost to house someone on death row for 20 years? I’m all for due process but this is insane. We need to double our court system, speed up all these trials and appeals, and promptly serve justice.

Savannah7890

September 12th, 2011
5:45 pm

FTD – it doesn’t mean FREE Troy Davis

DO HIM NOW!!!!!!

September 12th, 2011
5:49 pm

A cop killer should be put down immediatley – no mercy – no clemency – TOO BAD WE DON”T STILL USE THE ELECTRIC CHAIR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Free from Hank

September 12th, 2011
5:56 pm

I am not a supporter of the death penalty purely for economic reasons. I believe they should be locked up w/o tv, radio, contact w/ outside world or interaction with others – never to see the light of day. The expense of capital trials & appeals is not worth it.

However, our Federal reps should focus on their jobs, not locally-decided isues.

kreedham

September 12th, 2011
5:59 pm

John Barrow would sign too if he was in a safe district but he’s running for reelection and he’s running scared of the tea party wing. Guess what John…they ain’t gonna vote for you anyway!. Show some stones!

paul

September 12th, 2011
6:00 pm

growing up i was all supportive of the death penalty, as i grow older and the number of death row immates that have been released due to dna testing etc. and states and state attorney’s going for convictions at all costs i wasnt there, i didnt witness the crime, i wasnt part of the trial or jury, but i cant shake the feeling something isnt right here. that gives me pause. 7 of 9 of the witnesses have recanted their testimony… it could go on and on…. to execute someone is the ultimate punishment, we as a society with our value system have to be sure beyond a shadow of a doubt that the person is guilty. we cant undo an execution. we cant turn back time to right a wrong–be it the family or Troy Davis –to many if’s for me to be ok with the state executing him….

BlkPantha

September 12th, 2011
6:05 pm

It is not surprising to me that Georgia and even these United States continue to Murder people of color regardless of any type of evidence to show innocence. It is an injustice to the Whole of Humanity. But what’s more disturbing are the people who continue to support the system in this injustice. This people allow themselves to be used as Agents/Conduits of SATAN. The ALMIGHTY is going to light ya’ll asses up; AND I CAN’T WAIT!!!

DublDawg

September 12th, 2011
6:07 pm

The liberals will stop at nothing and will obfuscate and lie to any extent to push their agenda.

They contend that there is “no” physical evidence or other evidence to support the conviction. But the prosecution and the state AG’s office have shown that is not true, and have demonstrated that a jury could have found Troy Davis guilty beyond a reasonable doubt even if the witnesses now wobbling had not even testified.

Use google to find the op-ed written by Spencer Lawton and others that provides the balance to the story.

The AJC sure as heck has never painted a balanced picture, its writers and editors are carrying the water for the liberals.

Steve

September 12th, 2011
6:11 pm

Wally, Wrong! I would much prefer the murderer of one of my family members to sit in solitary confinement for the rest of their life. That’s much worse than death….

GA No-more

September 12th, 2011
6:13 pm

The Voting Rights Act is going to be the ruin of this country. The retention of these clearly racist congressmen in these gerrymandered districts is simply wrong. If I hear “Great Leader” about John Lewis is again, I will puke. He has a nasty attitude towards whites, and if you don’t think so you are clearly dimwitted . And Hank, do you think we should send David to Guam so he can stand on the other side of the island, to keep it from tipping over. Stop lowering the bar.

Wally

September 12th, 2011
6:13 pm

I believe that Gary Hilton did not do what they have accused and found him guilty of.Do ya think we can either get him off,set free, or at least life in prison if we get Jimmy Carter and these others to go along with it? I also am not too sure about that Timothy McVae as well.Just saying.I believe we can get some people to recant their testimony’s as well.

Bruce

September 12th, 2011
6:15 pm

Troy Davis has had more than twenty years to prove his case. He shot and killed a Savannah, Georgia Police Officer that came to the rescue of a man being pistol whipped in a parking lot. The state of Georgia & it’s tax payers have spent millions defending Davis and now you have Congressmen and a former President of the United States defending his actions ? I have not heard one thing about Officer McPhail, how his family has had to struggle or any sympathy for their loss. Troy Davis has had his day in court several times, it’s about time he paid the price for his crime !!!!

dtboy

September 12th, 2011
6:15 pm

The role of government is to protect the unalienable right to life, even for the guilty. Not play the role of revenge. As a republican, this is one of the worse things that sickens me about the party; their arrogance of knowing that people are imperfect, but somehow not applying that same belief to capital punishment. They have a general belief in God, yet executes someone as if God is present during the act. Hypocrisy. As much as I don’t like Democrat, they at least behave with some sort of conscience in such matters.

GA No-more

September 12th, 2011
6:16 pm

My last post: Please remove “is” after Lewis, and Davis vice David.

DublDawg

September 12th, 2011
6:38 pm

Read Spencer Lawton’s Op-Ed with this link. You may need to cut and paste it.

http://www.ajc.com/services/content/printedition/2008/10/21/lawtoned.html

Troy Davis is being made out to be an innocent lamb being carried in for the slaughter. It is also contended that his conviction turns on the testimony of the witnesses who are supposedly now telling the truth when they say that they were lying 20 year ago. Neither is accurate.

If you believe that Troy Davis is innocent, did the AJC persuade you of that before you knew that he was convicted of shooting another man earlier in the evening and that the physical evidence linked that shooting to the shooting of the police officer?

Wally

September 12th, 2011
6:44 pm

Very Well said Bruce and I agree like most sensible responsible taxpaying citizen should.Time for Troy to pay up.His case has run it’s course. period

What if it was you?

September 12th, 2011
6:47 pm

Check out how many prisoners have been released from Texas prisons due to DNA evidence. Eye witnesses are not always reliable, especially if the witness and the accused don’t look like each other.

TruthBe

September 12th, 2011
7:07 pm

The Politicans are correct if there isn’t enough hard evidence and seven of the witnesses have changed their stories than there should be a new trial. Is there any DNA to be investigated? And if the witnesses are found to be lying than charhes should be filed.

Mike

September 12th, 2011
7:14 pm

We have seen countless times where over zealous prosecutors will stop at nothing to get a conviction. And based on this fact the death penalty should be abolished. Who are these people who confuse politics with morality, Cops pressure people all the time to falsely testify in a criminal case. It happens all over this country. Fear always motivates people to make the wrong decision. This thread is full of hate and bigotry. It is sickening especially if the guilty remains out there. Ph by the way I am white.

lee

September 12th, 2011
7:29 pm

they had ballistics, bloodspatter evidance, and a blood type match to the victim from the blood on Davis’s clothes he’s guilty and needs to DIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

TB

September 12th, 2011
7:48 pm

I am white and support the death penalty. However, for it to be ,there should be absolutely NO doubt of someone’s guilt. In this case there is a lot of doubt. The Governor, who professes to be a Christian, should do the Christian thing and, in this case, grant clemency.

Barry

September 12th, 2011
8:52 pm

The governor in Georgia does not have the legal authority to grant clemency or pardon, TB. That ability rests solely in the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles.