Troy Davis given execution date.

Troy Davis in the Chatham County Superior Court during his trail in the shooting death of off-duty police officer Mark MacPhail. (AP Photo/Savannah Morning News)

UPDATE: Many thanks to Glenn Greenwald, at, for linking to this post in his piece “Cheering for state-imposed death.” The number of click-throughs to the various Amnesty petitions and sign-on letters has jumped exponentially since he linked, and it is my sincere hope that these additional names will serve to help Troy Davis win clemency.


Troy Davis, the death row inmate about whom I wrote last week, has been given an execution date of September 21.

I repeat: Mr. Davis is almost certainly innocent of the crime for which the state of Georgia wants to kill him.

There is no physical evidence connecting him to the crime, seven out of the nine eyewitnesses have recanted, stating that they had been pressured, coerced or frightened into testifying, and jury members have said flat out: “If I knew then what I know now, Troy Davis would not be on death row.”

The police officer that Mr. Davis was convicted of murdering deserves that justice be done — but killing a man who had nothing to do with Officer MacPhail’s death will only compound the injustice horribly.

Please, please:

  1. If you haven’t signed the Amnesty petition yet, please do so by clicking here.
  2. If you are a member of the legal profession or clergy, please join the sign-on letters being circulated in support of Mr. Davis’s request for clemency. Legal professionals click here; clergy, click here.
  3. Write a letter to the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles (address and sample letter below): Here again, it is important to focus on the holes in the case — the fact that anything less than an ironclad verdict cannot be the basis for the death penalty.
  4. Watch the following video, regarding clemency for Troy, and pass it on– “The State of Georgia does not have to execute Troy Davis and it should not execute Troy Davis,” in the words of Prof Russell Covey, Criminal Law Expert, Georgia State University. “There is one fail-safe built into the system that still exists, and that’s the clemency process.”
  5. ASK OTHERS TO DO LIKEWISE, particularly citizens of Georgia. Send a link to this post, or to any of the above information, and ask your friends and loved ones to take action. Twitter and Facebook are great ways to spread news far and wide — if you are on either, please use them in support of Troy.

There is no other way to put this: There is a very real possibility that Troy Davis will be dead before the month is out, killed for a crime that he didn’t commit. Please do whatever you can to save his life.


IMPORTANT UPDATE: Please note that as of today (9/14/11) snailmail will likely take too long to reach the board. Commenter AndyHall provides this email address for forwarding letters to the board: (and suggests that, if you can, attach it as a .pdf as well, with a signature), and this site for more contact information:

Sample letter to the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles (if you are a member of the legal profession or clergy, please say so in your letter):

Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles
2 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, SE
Suite 458, Balcony Level, East Tower
Atlanta, Georgia 30334-4909.

To the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles,

In the interest of justice, I appeal to you to grant clemency to Troy Davis, who is currently scheduled to be executed on September 21.  He was sentenced to death in 1991 for the murder of Police Officer Mark MacPhail.

I am deeply concerned that Mr. Davis may be executed despite serious doubts regarding his guilt, and the fact that the case against him has steadily unraveled over the years. There is no physical evidence linking Mr. Davis to the crime, seven out of nine eyewitnesses have recanted, and many witnesses have implicated another man all together, someone reported to have boasted of the crime to friends — one of the original witnesses. There are scores of unresolved questions about what happened the night of the murder, and only one thing is clear: There is overwhelming doubt.

The murder of Officer MacPhail was tragic, and I in no way seek to deny or diminish the pain and suffering the MacPhail family has endured, but executing Troy Davis will not bring them justice. Please act quickly to grant Mr. Davis clemency.




UPDATE: Edited to remove an action step that has since been deemed counter-productive.


  1. I can never understand why prosecutor’s never admit to making mistakes. I’ve seen them deny DNA evidence exonerating a man of murder with a straight face. I think most prosecutors have ulterior motives such as running for office. Everyone wants the guilty to pay, but not the innocent. Just admit you’re not good at your job and move on. McDonald’s is always hiring.

    • Blue Tongue

       /  September 9, 2011

      I agree that there appears to be a serious problem throughout the overwhelming majority of the legal system with prosecutors only wanting convictions, not a search for justice.

      But a prosecutor doesn’t have to to admit that they were not good at their job. You can make one decision on the basis of the preponderance of the evidence available at one time, and make a different decision based on new evidence added to the old. This is not a character defect, nor a demonstration of incompetence, but rather the opposite of both.

  2. Given that Rick Perry got the loudest applause tonight during the Republican debate when he mentioned that 374 prisoners (including at least one who was innocent) have been put to death on his watch, I do not hold out a lot of hope here. Sorry. Signed the petition and all but I am not sanguine about his chances.

  3. Scott S

     /  September 8, 2011

    When you elect prosecutors you basically have a refined form of mob rule and lynching.

  4. dmf

     /  September 8, 2011

    hey ee, been cross-posting this far and wide, we shall see..

    • dmf

       /  September 8, 2011

      by this I mean your timely posts not the syrupy video

      • …I was wondering about that! : )

        Thanks for the crossposting – I actually saw it someplace and kind of started and went: “Hey! I know him!” Thank you!

  5. There is an email submission form on the Govenor’s website which might be easier for people to cut and paste the letter to. It can be found here:,2657,165937316_166563415,00.html

    Thank you for your efforts. I suggest you add this link to your list of what people can do. I will also be publicising your efforts on my blog.

  6. I just posted on my blog directing people to your blog. I also posted this on Gov. Perry’s FB page, as he is likely to be getting a lot of attention today.

    You can prevent a man who is very likely innocent being executed. You, Govenor Perry, can contact your fellow Govenor. You, people of America, can take action. But will you?

  7. Well, we had a short writing session yesterday in a symposium I attended, “Social Media for Social Justice.”

    Here’s what I wrote:

    More than 20 years ago on a hot muggy night Officer Mark MacPhail worked as a security officer at a fast-food restaurant. An altercation outside escalated, as often happens when people are tired and angry. Officer MacPhail intervened, and two shots ended his life.

    A man now sits in a Georgia State Prison awaiting execution for that crime. All is in order, rules followed, jurors instructed, penalty phases adjudicated. And Troy Davis, 13 days away from his own death, awaits the response to his near-futile pleas for clemency.

    Seven of nine witnesses against him have recanted. Physical evidence does not connect him to the crime. Indeed, one witness has boasted of the crime himself. There is doubt, more than reasonable doubt, that Troy Davis was responsible. We say that for a capital crime that beyond reasonable doubt must prevail for justice to be done.

    But Troy Davis will not receive justice in Georgia. We all know this. A man – a police officer – was killed doing the honorable thing, and someone must pay for that.
    Troy Davis knows that simply to be identified and arrested for the murder of a police officer means guilt. We all know this is true. We know that victims of violent crime often do not receive justice or protection. We know that an inordinate number of alleged criminals are freed, only to repeat their crimes.

    We know that when we finally do find someone guilty we want them to pay the price for crime. Any crime. Because then someone is punished and someone is avenged and justice is done.

    And in 14 days we can find the next person who must pay the price and be punished, so the cycle can continue.

    • Thank you so much for this. As someone pointed out over at Angry Black Lady, you have to wonder about these people willing to punish the innocent: Do they not realize that the real killer is still at large?

    • i’m going to post this at balloon juice.

      that’s what is really the most distressing in cop killer cases. the need to make someone — anyone — pay.

  8. Signed.

  9. Melanie Malovany

     /  September 10, 2011

    Thank you for this, Emily. Troy and I have been friends for several years. I have been fortunate to communicate with him through letters and visits and to meet his family. He is a remarkable man with an incredibly strong faith. He has grace…and I can’t say that about too many people that I know. His friendship has enriched my life and many others. It is truly heartbreaking and obscene that the State of Georgia seems so intent on executing this man, who is surely innocent. I oppose the death penalty in all cases, but this case is so tragic. His sister has fought for his freedom for all these years while facing challenges of her own and raising her wonderful boy. I will work and pray for Troy as long as he’s breathing. He deserves a miracle!

  10. Tried to sign the amnesty petition several times and page says an error has been made on behalf of the site itself. Has this been going on for awhile? How can I sign this successfully

    • They have this notice on the site: “NOTE: Due to high volume of supporters, please keep trying to sign this petition if your initial attempt does not succeed” — I would say, try again later! If you still can’t get through tomorrow, let me know.

  11. Nick Palmer

     /  September 11, 2011

    As a Brit, it occurs to me that all those who cheered Perry for the 234 executions, notwithstanding that he clearly, like many powerful politicians, fits the definition of a high functioning psychopath, got something wrong.

    If, as DNA evidence clearly shows, innocent men have been executed after going through the court system that Perry thinks is so “thoughtful”, have they forgotten that that must mean that the court system has let guilty men go free and unconvicted. If they are so keen on killing those who commit “heinous” crimes, how do they square what they consider their tough justice humanity with that aspect – that they kill some wrong guys and leave some heinous criminals free to possibly rape and murder again?

  12. I’ve sent a letter today in postal mail, but due to the short time remaining, also sent it to both in the text of the e-mail and as a PDF attachment, with signature. No trouble getting through to the Amnesty petition.

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