Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Lights Won't Go Out in Georgia Tonight

One day before he was to die by lethal injection, convicted cop killer Troy Davis received a 90-day stay of execution Monday from a Georgia clemency board, allowing him time to press his case that he has been the victim of mistaken identity.

The prosecution's case against Davis, 38, has crumbled in the 16 years since he was sentenced to death for shooting a police officer working a security detail in Savannah. Most of the key witnesses in Davis's trial have recanted their testimony, and some have said they lied under police pressure.

But none of those witnesses testified during Davis's appeals -- in part because federal courts barred their testimony -- and Davis was scheduled to die at 7 p.m. Tuesday.


After several trial witnesses recanted or altered their testimony, Davis's attorneys asked for an evidentiary hearing, at which the new testimony could be aired. But U.S. District Judge John F. Nangle denied the request, citing a federal law that limits the reasons under which federal courts can review death penalty cases.

I don't understand why the legal issue was federal habeas corpus relief. What's wrong with Georgia law ? Something prevented a state court reasonable evaluation of the new evidence. I've wondered the same thing about Virginia.

With the reprieve, I feel free to link to Vicki Lawrence.

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