As you probably know, the state Board of Pardons and Paroles this morning declined to commute the death sentence of Troy Anthony Davis, convicted of the 1989 murder of an off-duty police officer.
The decision was immediately denounced by Amnesty International, the NAACP and other groups that made the case an international cause – arguing that the recantation of multiple eyewitnesses had thrown sufficient doubt on the verdict.
Republicans, including Gov. Nathan Deal, have remained largely quiet, preferring the system to run its course.
The reaction from Democrats has varied. U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Atlanta expressed resignation. In part:
“We have come a great distance in Georgia, but today we have demonstrated we still have a great distance to go before we build a society based on simple justice that values the dignity and the worth of every human being. We are not there yet. I am deeply saddened and deeply disappointed by this decision, but in light of all I have seen through the years, it does not surprise me.”
State Sen. Vincent Fort, D-Atlanta, called for a work stoppage by the men and women who keep inmates at the Jackson, Ga., facility corralled. Again, in part:
”I am calling for a general strike or sick-out by all but a skeleton staff of the Georgia Diagnostic Prison on September 21st, 2011. I say to the prison staff: If you work on that day, you will enable the prison to carry out the execution of a possibly innocent man.”
In a column he wrote for CNN, former Georgia congressman and federal prosecutor Bob Barr levels this harsh criticism:
Imposing a death sentence on the skimpiest of evidence does not serve the interest of justice. The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles did not honor the standards of justice on which all Americans depend by granting clemency. In doing so, it will allow a man to be executed when we cannot be assured of his guilt.
That was the final admirable principle standing between Davis and his scheduled death by lethal injection Wednesday. And the parole board did not uphold it.
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- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider