Supreme Court Refuses to Stay Execution of Potentially Innocent Man
The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday cleared the way for Georgia to execute a man convicted of murdering a police officer in 1989, though seven of nine witnesses in his case have since recanted.
Lawyers for the defendant, Troy Anthony Davis, now 40, had hoped the court would grant certiorari to review whether it is constitutional for a state to execute a man where newly discovered evidence indicates he might be innocent.
In denying review without comment, the court cleared the way for Davis’s immediate execution.
Since Davis’s conviction in 1991, two witnesses in the case have said they were pressured by police officers to testify against Davis. Three witnesses have since said another man admitted to the murder. Prosecutors presented no physical evidence or murder weapon supporting Davis’ conviction.
Davis’ lawyers have been arguing for 10 years that the new evidence warrants a new hearing in the case. The Georgia Supreme Court denied that request, concluding that witness recantation alone is insufficient to warrant a new hearing.
Yesterday, Davis’s lead lawyer, Jason Ewart, said he might ask the court to reconsider.