Troy Davis and the Right to Have New Evidence Fully Considered


Rallies are taking place around the country today on behalf of Troy Davis, who has been on Georgia’s death row for 18 years for a murder he says he didn’t commit. He has come within hours of execution three times only to receive last-minute stays. There is no DNA evidence to test in Davis’ case, but a wealth of other evidence – including recantations by seven of nine original eyewitnesses – points to his innocence. No court has fully heard this new evidence from Davis, but a new execution date could be set any day.

A USA Today story on Monday contrasted the cases of Davis and

Paul House

, a former Tennessee death row inmate who was finally cleared last week, nearly three years after the U.S. Supreme Court ordered a hearing in his case to consider new evidence. Although House was eventually cleared, it took a protracted legal battle to present the evidence of his innocence.

Perhaps even more difficult than obtaining access to DNA testing is getting access to a hearing with new non-DNA evidence, advocates say.

Laura Moye, a deputy director of Amnesty International USA, which supports Davis' appeal, says the "question of innocence doesn't seem to be as much of a priority for the courts as the craving for finality."

Read the full story here

. (USA Today, 05/17/09)


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