I could not believe this when my fellow colleague sent me the link the other day: Troy Davis’s case might be heard in front of a District Court. Or at least that is what the United States Supreme Court decided on Aug. 17, 2009 after reviewing Davis’s case for the second time since Aug. 2008 when his case was rejected review due to lack of substantial evidence.
If you are not familiar with the case, you might not know that Davis has indeed escaped death three more times before the latest one that was indeed scheduled for June 29, 2009. On July 17, 2007, he had been so close to death ( 2 hours before the lethal injection was scheduled to inject the drug in his veins) that he had already given up his clothing, ate his last meal and sent his goodbye letters to his family. That’s what he told me when I first met him in his cell in the Georgia Department of Correction in Jackson, Ga. on April 22, 2009.
I flew to the prison to talk to Davis in person ( we had been sending letters back and forward for two months before that) for a research paper I was writing as my Masters Thesis at American University. But, his story was so interesting and filled with intricacies that I ended up also writing a story of the whole in-prison interview experience (no laptops, no pencils, no pen and no notebooks allowed…only your own functional brain cells and a whole lot of memory) that ended up been published on AlterNet.org on October 2008.
In any case, I have been following Davis’s case for two years, mostly due to my strong interest in the unfairness behind wrongful executions due to mistaken eyewitnesses identification. Or at least that was the subject matter of my research paper. And Davis’s case was a perfect example of what, in legal therms is called, police misconduct, because seven of the nine eyewitnesses in Davis’s case have indeed recanted their testimony blaming it on police coercion.
Needless is to say that my meeting with Davis changed my life and my view of the world around me and made me more conscious of how many times a day I give my freedom for granted so, despite my journalism integrity and my vote to objectivity, knowing that Davis’s might be given another shot at life, is making me smile inside. And, no, this does not mean I am happy Officer Mark Allen MacPhail who died in the incident is not in my thoughts. It just means that justice MUST be fair and men are INNOCENTS until proven guilty and Davis has not been proven either way.
Now, according to the U.S. Supreme Court, Davis’s case will be heard again and new evidence (such as the affidavits of the nine eyewitnesses who changed their story after their first testimony against Davis because threatened by police officers pressure) will be presented in a lower Court in the next few months.
If the new evidence will be ruled as unsatisfactory then the case could be dismissed and Davis would indeed find peace in the arms of death. But, on the contrary, if the affidavits of the witnesses who claim to have stated the false because pushed to identify the wrong men as the killer, then Davis might be closer to prove his innocence.
Until that day, if you do not find me at my desk writing or in the field shooting, you might want to try the parking lot of the Georgia Department of Correction in Jackson, Ga or the National Mall waiting the day Davis’s case will be called onto trial.
I just want to make sure I am one of the first one in line to hear the verdict either way.
More Interesting links: