Troy Davis reaction: Resignation from John Lewis, and a call for a prison strike

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.

Commenting on this post has been closed.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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196 comments Add your comment

Coastal Cavalier

September 20th, 2011
12:17 pm

I have a really dumb question about this…Can all those witnesses who have now changed their story be charged with perjury since they apparently lied under oath?

Keith

September 20th, 2011
12:22 pm

Jim, don’t tease me like that. When I saw John Lewis and “resignation” in the same sentence I got really excited, only to be let down.

Traian

September 20th, 2011
12:26 pm

Do you believe lawmakers in Georgia are smarter than lawmakers in Europe, where there’s no capital punishment?
Shame, shame on you, lawmakers from Georgia!

Ron Andle

September 20th, 2011
12:28 pm

Keith, tell us how you truly feel. I guess it do not matter to some people here in this state if the guy is innocent or not and don’t tell me about the justice system.

Maria Caterina Rosenfeld

September 20th, 2011
12:29 pm

I respectfully ask President Barack Obama to pardon Troy Anthony Davis. Please, America, call the White House at: (202) 456-1111 and ask our President to lead our country in humanity and truth by taking a stand for an innocent man.

Jerome Horwitz

September 20th, 2011
12:45 pm

I don’t know if Troy Davis is guilty or not, however, there is enough discrepancies due to the recanted testimony and the affadavits from the jurors to warrant another trial. To kill a man based upon this is not right. Appears that the police and DA are more worried about covering their posteriors than justice.

What I find disgusting is that attitude of the family – they want their pound of flesh and care nothing that the wrong man may die for it.

CC – I was wondering too about the change in testimony and perjury. If their testimony was voluntary than I would think perjury is involved. However, some have stated that they were intimidated by the prosecution.

Susan Mitchell

September 20th, 2011
12:45 pm

This is so disappointing. I don’t know if the man is innocent or not but if there is a significant amount of doubt how can you put a man to death? It’s also interesting to me how some people don’t even consider that fact that time and time again our justice system has been totally wrong. I’m praying for both families tonight!

findog

September 20th, 2011
12:46 pm

Have the sick out only if Fort will be there all day to accept the inherent danger posed by such a truly illegal act. Placing the entire population and the guards that do work that day at risk is simply a felonious abandonment of their post.
Fort, you are an IDIOT

Grandma

September 20th, 2011
12:46 pm

How is it that so many people want a convicted murderer to be set free? Do you people at Amnesty International and the NAACP know something that the judicial system doesn’t?

Centrist

September 20th, 2011
12:47 pm

@ Traian posted “Do you believe lawmakers in Georgia are smarter than lawmakers in Europe?”

Absolutely. But because ad nauseum appeals cost the taxpayers more compared to housing heinous killers for life – capital punishment might as well go away.

75% chance the sentence is finally carried out tomorrow.

Silent Jay

September 20th, 2011
12:47 pm

Innocent?

They do it in Texas all the time.

findog

September 20th, 2011
12:49 pm

Centrist, when you get here please explain how one can be pro life and pro capital punishment simultaneously?

Icanseebothsides

September 20th, 2011
12:49 pm

I’m LOL @ Keith…and wondered the same thing Coastal…
I have not read all of this case – so I’m not sure how I feel about it…I can understand the cop’s family’s side in wanting justice AND I can understand not wanting an innocent man (if innocent) to be put to death…..

You say what?

Patrick

September 20th, 2011
12:49 pm

If this were a white man, convicted of killing a black police officer with the supporting testimony of witnesses who later recanted their testimony and claimed that it was forced or coerced out of them by black police officers and a black prosecuting attorney….

Then this white man would have already received a pardon from the Governor…let alone be “allowed” to rot in prison for the rest of his life.

Just the facts

September 20th, 2011
12:50 pm

After speaking to officers involved in the case, as well as reading the transcripts I can tell you the media has enabled myth and outright lies to blur the facts. If you are against the death penalty as a whole, fine, I can respect that. However, don’t wring your hands and gnash your teeth because you believe the hype of this man’s innocence. It’s a lie.

Asking prison employees to not show up is irresponsible at best. Show some respect for the law.

Susan Mitchell

September 20th, 2011
12:50 pm

@ Grandma – just because a jury calls a man something doesn’t mean he is. No one is saying set him free, just give the man a fair trail when there are some many discrepancies. Life in prison is still an option.

What's Important

September 20th, 2011
12:51 pm

Traian – I didn’t know that Europe was the gold standard for determining what is right or wrong with American laws, or to put it bluntly, what the h— has Europe got to do with this issue?

joe

September 20th, 2011
12:51 pm

@ Maria–how do you know he is innocent? Where you there the night of the murder? But if you’re gonna call Obama anyway, please tell him to resign when you get him on the phone…

Holden Magroyne

September 20th, 2011
12:51 pm

A jury of his peers found him guilty and he was sentenced to death.

That’s it! Case closed. Execute him as scheduled.

findog

September 20th, 2011
12:51 pm

Grandma, not set him free but rather commute his sentance to life in prison

Wake Up Georgia!

September 20th, 2011
12:52 pm

Obviously there are some questions about this case that are not clear. To put someone to death when your not absolutely sure is insane. How do the people making these decisions sleep at night?

He is Gulity

September 20th, 2011
12:52 pm

If only the police officer could have lived another 20 years. How do you know he is innocent? Where a juror? If you dig deep into this case there is quite a bit of evidence that points to him including his bloody short pants his mother saw him return home in that night. If he was white would the NAACP be so opposed to this? Or would they care? If he was white he probably would have been put to death 10 years ago.

Too Much Doubt 2

September 20th, 2011
12:52 pm

“A federal judge who, at the direction of the U.S. Supreme Court, last year reviewed the witnesses’ changed testimony said they were not credible, and that Davis had not established his innocence.

But one organizer of the overnight vigil said it’s “almost incredible” that the judge would rely on the witnesses’ earlier testimony to let Davis’ conviction stand but then say they are not credible now. ”

I think this speaks for itself. There is just too much doubt!

Georgia Citizen

September 20th, 2011
12:53 pm

I do not know all of the ins and outs of this case. I will not say I do not care because there should be no doubt. But, how can one exhaust every legal challenge available when folks say all this evidence exists? Because it does not exist. If there was such a major irregularity in the trial or evidence, it has been reveiwed. I hope the process has been exhaustive. However, I agree with Re Lewis in the fact somethings have not changed. Just because a case is not overturned because a lawmaker thinks it should be does not mean that Georgia wants to go lynching. I am really tiring of the racism card being pulled everytime a lawmaker doesn’t get his or her way.

T B

September 20th, 2011
12:53 pm

@Grandma – No one is asking that Troy Davis be set free (although that is an option available to the parole board), they are simply asking that he not be executed. The Board may commute his sentence to Life Imprisonment or Life Imprisonment Without the Possibility of Parole. Any of those options seem to be more appropriate than death, in this case.

Melissa

September 20th, 2011
12:54 pm

Grandma, are you serious? Seven out of nine witnesses recanted their statement, there are claims of coersion. There have been innocent people put to death, and there are serious questions about the validity of this testimony. Were you there? Did you see him do it? I didn’t think so.

What's Important

September 20th, 2011
12:56 pm

Patrick, do you not remember the O.J. trial, kind of punches a hole in your theoretical case of the black man always getting the shaft, innocent or guilty.

John

September 20th, 2011
12:56 pm

I don’t believe anyone has suggested thst Troy Davis be set free,rather that the state of Georgia, and its citizens, should not execute a man without 100% confidence in his guilty sentence. Sounds right to me, and shame on anyone pushing a personal revenge agenda on my state’s justice system.

Sasha

September 20th, 2011
12:57 pm

In shock!!!!! So disgusted…Casey Anthony is walkin free with TONS of evidence againist her and we have more than enough doubt for the Troy Davis case and this is it……SHAME ON ALL OF YOU…….so ashamed to be a GA citizen at this point..How do we explain this to our children????

I'm just saying

September 20th, 2011
12:58 pm

@Grandma…have you followed this case at all? How would you feel if it was your family member who has been accused of a crime where SEVERAL, not just one, witnesses have recanted their story? Would you still feel he was guilty simply because a group of his peers felt that the evidence placed before them was sufficient enough to convict him? We have seen cases like this time & time again where a man or woman who has proclaimed their innocence for YEARS finally get their day in court only to discover that they are indeed innocent. How tragic will it be to kill this man only to discover somewhere down the line that he was innocent? How will you feel then? How will the victim’s family feel? I’m all for wanting a pound of flesh, but you better make sure that the pound you get is the correct one. You will be the one left dealing with it in the end; I just hope you can live with it.

Concerned Citizen

September 20th, 2011
12:58 pm

Why does everything always have to come down to the race card. Doesn’t matter if you are black OR white…if you kill someone you should pay the price. Obama has made enough decisions for us already…………..he doesn’t need to make this one! There clearly is not enough evidence to overturn the case!!!!!!!!!!!!! Get over it!

Centrist

September 20th, 2011
12:59 pm

@ findog posted “Centrist, when you get here please explain how one can be pro life and pro capital punishment simultaneously?”

You have me confused with somebody else – I am pro-choice. But I can see where pro-life folks see unthinking fetuses as innocent while convicted cop killers are not, hence deserve to be terminated.

Sparky

September 20th, 2011
1:00 pm

The sooner the better for the convicted cop killer!

HARLOW

September 20th, 2011
1:01 pm

THIS HAS BEEN THE WAY OF LIFE IN OUR COUNTRY USA NOTHING HAS CHANGE OVER THE YEARS. THE GAME DOES NOT CHANGE JUST THE PLAYERS.IHOPE U ARE NOT SURPRISE TO GEORGIA SOUTHERN WAY OF DECISION .

pathetic

September 20th, 2011
1:01 pm

HOW DARE YOU?
WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE CALLING FOR A MUTINY?
This is unreal.
Hey, we are big babies, did not get what we wanted, so let’s throw a temper tantrum

HARLOW

September 20th, 2011
1:01 pm

Enter your comments here

Tom (Independent)

September 20th, 2011
1:02 pm

Do you people know that Davis shot someone earlier that nite(Which he was convicted of) and the same gun was the weapon that killed the officer. I also understand that after he shot the officer once(disabling him), he stood over him and fired two more shots into the officer making sure he was dead instead of just leaving after the 1st shot! All this occurred as the officer was working a 2nd job to help support his family. The officer working at a Burger King heard the cries of a man being pistol-whipped by Davis in the parking lot and ran to help the unknown citizen. This officer also served honorably in the military defending our country, tell me positive things Davis had done in his life for society? Amnesty International and others who are against the death penalty, will do and say anything to try to win favor with citizens of this country. Davis is guilty of this murder and should pay the ultimate penalty for it.

CADMAN1

September 20th, 2011
1:02 pm

So looks like now would be as good a time as any to fess up and make peace with your maker. May God have mercy on his soul if he deserves any.

gm

September 20th, 2011
1:02 pm

This is what happens when you elect a bunch of red necks in this state, we are a joke around the world, Deal shows what kind of person he really is, a all white parole board,did any one expect anything different?
As long as you can run that ball as a black male you are ok with these bigots in the captiol, where is uncle Cain and the rep conservatives now?

nihilist nick

September 20th, 2011
1:02 pm

None of this really matters, nothing matters in the end. Although, society benefits from taking out a possible innocent every once in awhile-keeps everybody on their toes.

DamntheButcher

September 20th, 2011
1:03 pm

Maybe John Lewis and Vincent Fort will both resign. All that either of them has ever done is suck off the governmet all their lives. As to Troy Davis, he should have already rotted in Hell for the Guy that he admitted shooting. All I can say is for the guy you shot I hope you suffer and burn in hell forever.

Bobby

September 20th, 2011
1:03 pm

Sometimes we just have to trust in the judicial system. Davis has been before the Georgia and U.S. Supreme Courts, a Federal judge and others in his appeals. All have found against him. If he was as innocent as his family and friends say I would think there would be some kind of corrorbarating evidence to present. There is none. His case has become one of political correctness on the part of his family and Amnesty international. Let justice be done and God, the ultimate judge, have mercy on his soul.

arlene

September 20th, 2011
1:05 pm

This is a sad day which shows the state of Georgia in the worse possible way. I am very ashamed of this state. It brings back memories of the past when these injustices were prevalent, and goes to show that nothing has changed. As long as there is doubt, there should be no execution. And the victim’s family is a bunch of blood-thirsty individuals who just want to see someone die. Twenty two years is enough…move on with your lives. And, do the humane thing by allowing this innocent man to live!

aj

September 20th, 2011
1:06 pm

Although very touchy subject I use to be a huge proponent of the death penalty but after working/ witnessing an exucation it changed my views. The state has no right to choose who lives or dies. Its easy to sit back and say execute him when you will go on with your life the next day as if it never happened.There are caring family on both sides in a no win situation. Yes the victim/family had no choice whether he lived or died either, but taking another life will not bring him back or fill that void. I vote to Lock the convicted away and put them in a gruelling prison camp not the holliday inns these guys serve in now.

slick dawson

September 20th, 2011
1:06 pm

It’s better than 10 innocent people did than for 1 guilty person get free.

Concerned Citizen

September 20th, 2011
1:06 pm

Thank you Tom for the information! Maybe you should post numerous times for people to read and re-read!!!!!!!!!!!

T.

September 20th, 2011
1:06 pm

Theses people recanting testamony should have to go to jail for perjury.This Fort dude should be arrested for
calling on prison personnel to put society in jeopardy,
calling on them to lay out of work.Real responsible gov. official there.

Alvin Jackson

September 20th, 2011
1:06 pm

Judge not, I do not no if he is innocent or guilty, but I do no that God is the almighty Judge. Let him live, because we are cover by the blood of Jesus. Be careful who you condemn, if you are a man or woman, especially the Board of Pardons.

Just Wait

September 20th, 2011
1:07 pm

To all those who don’t know if Davis is guilty, do some research. Don’t depend on anti death penalty groups to make you believe he should not be executed. Of course they would say there is too much doubt. Well, there wasn’t enough doubt during the original trial. There hasn’t been enough doubt is every subsequent judicial proceeding since to convince any judge that he should not be executed. Davis has had his day in court, his week in court, even his year in court. He has had the benefit of more judicial hearings that any other death row inmate. All have had the same result. It is time, past time, for this sentence to be carried out.

nihilist nick

September 20th, 2011
1:08 pm

Compromise! How ’bout we release him, but force him to spend the rest of his breathing days listening to Bono’s drivel.