Archive | September 10, 2011

A Call to Action

National Public Radio reported that the execution date was set in the Troy Davis. The Davis case highlights many of the problems in the criminal justice system. The case also reminds us of the potentially lethal consequences which result from a flawed criminal justice system in jurisdictions where the death penalty is permissible.

Under the United States criminal justice system, defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty—this does not insure a just outcome in a court of law. In response to problems with the criminal justice system, Not only have defense attorneys sought justice for criminal defendants, in some high-profile cases international as well as national advocacy organizations have worked shoulder to shoulder with the defense counsel to make sure that justice prevails–one such case is that of Troy Davis.

Troy Anthony Davis Case Summary: Despite the absence of any physical evidence linking him to the crime, Troy Davis was found guilty in a court of law for the shooting and killing police officer MacPhail in Savannah, Georgia, and sentenced to death. The Troy Davis case has been appealed all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States and has drawn both national and international attention. According to the Bureau of Prisons, there are fifty-seven (57) people on death role in the federal penal system (Bureau of Prisons’ website). There are  thousands more on death row in state prisons across the country (Death Penalty Information Center). Eighty (80) percent of all executions occur in the southern part of the United States( Amnesty International). One of the most highly discussed death penalty cases in recent history is that of Troy Anthony Davis in
Savannah, Georgia (Amnesty International). For more than a decade, this capital punishment case has captured the attention of countless people not only in the United States (e.g. President Carter, former Congressman Bob Barr) but also people all around the  world (e.g. The Pope and Nobel Prize winner cleric Desmond Tutu). For persons opposed to capital punishment or those seeking a moratorium, the Davis case undergirds their assertion that wrongful convictions occur and the death penalty must be halted at a minimum until the errors which occur in the criminal justice system have been remedied.

After hearing the appeal in the Davis case, the United States Supreme Court ordered an unprecedented evidentiary hearing which took place in June 2010. At said evidentiary hearing, seven (7) of the nine (9) key witnesses against Mr. Davis recanted or changed their testimony. Further, a new witness testified that his relative, not Troy Davis, shot the police officer in question. Finally, NO physical evidence links Troy Davis to the shooting of Officer MacPhail. The judge admitted at the evidentiary hearing that the case against Troy Davis was not ironclad. Nonetheless, the court found that Mr. Davis failed to prove conclusively  his innocence. Following the evidentiary hearing in the Davis case, the United States Supreme Court denied Mr. Davis’ latest appeal.

In response to the recent setting of the execution date for Troy Davis, this blog has sought to draw attention to: this case; the problems with the imposition of a death sentence in a flawed criminal justice system; the need for you to act to halt this execution; and the importance for you to join the movement to abolish the death penalty.

After the setting of the execution date for Troy Davis, Amnesty International and the NAACP sent out an email update on the Troy Case and highlighting our collective need to continue to act to halt this travesty of justice.  It is NOT to late to halt Troy Davis’ execution.  As aptly stated in the Amnesty email message, “The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles holds the keys to Troy Davis’ fate” via the clemency hearing. The afore-referenced Amnesty International email message is a “Call to Action” and reads as follows:

“The day is now here – the state of Georgia has set Troy Davis’ execution date for September 21st, just two weeks from today.

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear his final appeal earlier this year. But the story remains the same – Troy Davis could very well be innocent.

However, in the state of Georgia, the Board of Pardons & Paroles holds the keys to Troy’s fate. In the days before Davis’ execution, this Board will hold a final clemency hearing – a final chance to prevent Troy Davis from being executed.

Davis was convicted on the basis of witness testimony – seven of the nine original witnesses have since recanted or changed their testimony.

One witness said in a CNN news interview “If I knew then, what I know now, Troy Davis would not be on death row.”

I know it’s difficult to believe that a system of justice could be so terribly flawed, but keep in mind that Troy has survived three previous execution dates, because people like you kept the justice system in check!

We’ve been bracing for this moment and the time for action is now! Here’s what you can do to join the fight:

Sign our petition to the Board of Pardons & Paroles urging them to grant clemency! We’ll deliver your signatures next week.

Organize locally for Troy: Take to the streets with us. Soon we’ll be announcing the
date for the official Troy Davis Day of Action. Sign up now to rally in the coming days to stop the execution of Troy Davis.

Tell everyone you know! Spread the word about this injustice on Twitter by using the hashtag #TooMuchDoubt. Be sure to tell your Facebook friends Troy’s story too!”

For further information about this pressing topic, an important resource is the Death Penalty Information Center’s website. If you are interested in working to abolish the death penalty, many resources can be found on the Amnesty International website including: petitions, fact sheets, organizing materials, as well as helpful suggestions on how to get involved and take action to end the death penalty.

It is my hope that you will join me and countless others around the world seeking to make sure that justice is served in the Davis Case. It is important to act now to let the state of Georgia – and the world – know that you stand by Troy Davis in his fight for justice by joining the efforts undertaken by Amnesty and/or NAACP to halt this injustice.  This is a matter of life and death, and time is running out.

Source: National Public Radio. Atlanta Journal Constitution. Amnesty International website. NAACP website. Bureau of Prisons. Death Penalty Information Center Website

Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art

September 11, 2011: National Day of Service and Rememberance

In commenting on the horror that occurred on the morning of Tuesday, September 10, 2001, President Bush proclaimed that, “Our nation was deeply wounded.”  The President went on to say that, “Out of evil came good.” Sunday, September 11, 2011, marks the tenth (10) anniversary of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, when nineteen (19) suicidal terrorists highjackers crashed four (4) planes headed for New York City, New York and Washington, DC. In response to the atrocities that were committed on Tuesday, September 10, 2001 a
movement grew to have good concur evil via provision of community service nationwide.

The date of September 11, 2001 will be indelibly etched in the collective memory of every
American. Upon learning of the devastation and the tremendous loss of lives, our nation gasped in horror at the senseless loss of life. On the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, two (2) planes hit the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. The third plane hit the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. The fourth plane crashed in field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.  Almost three thousand (3,000) people perished and countless lives are forever changed. As the President so aptly stated on this memorable day “Our nation was deeply wounded.”

“Out of evil will come good.”

“Beginning in 2002, family members who lost loved ones in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and support groups began to seek a forward-looking tribute to honor the sacrifice of those lost and pay tribute to those who rose in service in response to the tragedy. By encouraging Americans to participate in service and remembrance activities on the 9/11 anniversary, family members wanted to provide a productive and respectful way to honor those who perished and rekindle the spirit of unity and compassion that swept our nation after 9/11 to help meet the challenges we face today.

Because of their efforts to build support for this idea, September 11 has been designated a National Day of Service and Remembrance. The 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance was established into law by the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act in 2009, and is consistent with President Obama’s overall call to service, United We Serve.” (Corporation for National and Community Service website).

In honor and in celebration of the almost 3000 persons that lost their lives on 9/11, please join countless persons nationwide participating in service and remembrance activities on Sunday, September 11, 2011.

Sources: Corporation for National and Community Service website. Wikipedia.

Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art