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Reply #54: Troy Davis Must Not Be Executed, By Benjamin Todd Jealous [View All]

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nofurylike Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-20-09 08:30 PM
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54. Troy Davis Must Not Be Executed, By Benjamin Todd Jealous
Troy Davis Must Not Be Executed

Wrongful convictions of black men have become commonplace. But conviction of Troy Davis in Chatham County, Georgia is one of the most egregious and compelling cases in decades. You can help save this man's life.
By Benjamin Todd Jealous
June 17, 2009


To DeJuan Correira, his Uncle Troy embodies all of these attributes. A mentor to his nephew, Troy Anthony Davis played a prominent role in DeJuans development into a superior student while simultaneously providing support to DeJuans mother, Martina, Troys sister who was diagnosed with cancer in 2001. Davis accomplishments as a father figure and family man are astounding given his circumstances; since 1991, Davis has been on death row, wrongly convicted of the murder of Savannah police officer Mark MacPhail.


But the Troy Davis case is the most compelling case of wrongful conviction in decades. No physical evidence links Davis to the crime; no murder weapons were found and seven out of nine eyewitnesses recanted or contradicted their original statements. The facts of his innocence are so overwhelming that it has inspired conservative former Congressman Bob Barr and former FBI head William Sessions to speak out. The chorus calling for a new trial includes former President Jimmy Carter and Pope Benedict XVI. Despite irrefutable evidence of his innocence, Chatham County is one of 159 counties in the state of Georgia. The county currently has approximately 250,000 residents, less than 3 percent of Georgias state population. Yet this tiny county has produced one-third of Georgias exonerations and 40 percent of its death row exonerations, statistics that reveal a questionable history of negligent legal practices. The Troy Davis case is the latest in a series of disturbing instances of Chatham Countys disregard for justice and a proclivity to prosecute and potentially execute people innocent of the crimes of which they've been convicted. The new Chatham County District Attorney, Larry Chisolm, who is black, could reopen the case, but so far he has refused to do so.
In a desperate attempt to silence Davis, the Georgia Department of Corrections has prohibited all television access to him. Interview requests from 60 Minutes, Dateline NBC and the Associated Press have been denied, and the prison has threatened to revoke Davis phone privileges should any family member allow media to speak to him. These drastic infringements on Davis First Amendment rights are a measure of the states fear that exposure could reveal the truth about racism and injustice in Chatham County and in the state of Georgia.


While many in his position would be resentful about the unfair circumstances and an unjust system that put them behind bars, Davis exudes benevolence, responsibility and leadership. The effect Davis has had on his nephew is evidentDeJuan achieved top honors in the states Social Science Fair for his project entitled Time for Change: How Does the Troy Anthony Davis Case Affect Georgia?" From the confines of the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification State Prison, Davis has mentored and provided an example to young DeJuan by being positive, unwavering and unbroken.


Benjamin Todd Jealous is the president and CEO of the NAACP.


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