For Immediate Release
Supreme Court Delays Decision on Whether to Grant Cert in the Case of Death Row Inmate Troy Davis, Widely Termed the Most Compelling Case of Innocence in Decades
NAACP Commends Court for Taking Time to Thoroughly Review Case
WASHINGTON - The NAACP issued the following statement today in response to the
United States Supreme Court's decision to postpone ruling until next
term on whether it will grant habeas on the Georgia death penalty case
of Troy Anthony Davis. There is overwhelming evidence of Davis'
innocence that has never been heard in court. The Supreme Court's
current term ends today and the next term begins in September.
NAACP commends the Supreme Court's decision to give further
consideration on whether to grant cert in the case of Troy Davis. The
execution of a likely innocent man must not proceed, and we are
thankful the Court has put the brakes on Troy's execution," said
Benjamin T. Jealous, President and CEO of the NAACP. “We read the
Supreme Court's delay as a message to the state of Georgia to resolve
the issue by reopening the case in the state courts,” President and CEO
Edward DuBose, President of the Georgia
State Conference of the NAACP, added, "The Supreme Court has indicated
that there is reason to take another look at Troy's case. I am pleased
that the Court has taken note of the overwhelming evidence of Troy's
innocence. It is time for Chatham District Attorney Larry Chisolm to
take action to reopen this case."
The Supreme Court's delay
will allow the NAACP and a myriad of other groups to continue to
increase advocacy efforts on Davis' behalf in Chatham County and around
the country. Today, a diverse group of religious and civic leaders
delivered over 10,000 hand signed petitions from Chatham County
residents to District Attorney Larry Chisolm, urging him to stop the
execution and reopen the case. Another 50,000 petitions from around the
nation were also delivered.
A wide array of public figures,
including President Jimmy Carter, former FBI Director William Sessions,
and former presidential candidate Bob Barr have also called for a new
trial for Davis.
As Sessions wrote, "Crucial unanswered
questions surround claims of [Troy] Davis' responsibility for this
terrible crime, and I believe that the execution should not go forward
until the courts address them... Only a full hearing, with all
witnesses subject to rigorous cross-examination and a full exploration
of the circumstances of their testimony, will provide a means to
determine the reliability of this conviction. This never happened at
trial. It must happen now."
Davis has been on Death Row in
Georgia for nearly 18 years, after being charged with the murder of
Police Officer Mark Allen MacPhail in Savannah, Georgia. Davis was
convicted despite the absence of physical evidence linking him to the
crime. Moreover, seven of the nine witnesses recanted or contradicted
their original testimony; several of those witnesses say they were
Founded Feb. 12. 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest, largest and most widely recognized grassroots–based civil rights organization. Its more than half-million members and supporters throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.