I wanted to talk to some of you about Troy Anthony Davis. Today is Troy's Global Day of Action through Amnesty International, and in that spirit I wanted to tell you a bit about what's going on. I wanted to tell you how you can do very small and easy things that could save a man's life, just like it has been saved before by people doing exactly what many of you are about to do.
Many of you received an email, saw a blog post, or read a thread on a forum from me about the then-pending ban on capital punishment in New Mexico. A lot of you helped out, and sent a strong message to New Mexico's Governor. And we made it happen. I need you again. Troy needs you.
Many of you may feel that there is no excuse or appropriate situation in which the state should have the power to kill its citizens. That's fine. I am not one of you. I am one of those people who believes that there are some crimes for which death may be an acceptable response from the justice system. However, people have to have actually committed a crime. I mean, ideally, right?
Among many wrongful convictions is included Troy Anthony Davis. There is no physical evidence against him. The case is based entirely on eyewitness testimony, but seven of the nine witnesses recanted or contradicted their testimony. Some of those who've recanted stated that they originally testified under police coercion, and one of the two people who hasn't... is the prime alternative suspect (and whom nine people have already implicated in signed affidavits).
So Troy Davis is set to be executed because the alternative suspect and one other person are pointing the finger at him. That's it. Seriously.
Multiple times his date of execution has been called off. Georgia has decided--more than once--that there is insufficient evidence to execute Troy, and yet… this isn't sufficient evidence for them to grant him a new trial. Thanks, Georgia. His request for a new trial (that’s right, his appeal for an appeal) has been refused and an execution date is going to be set (again).
For more information about his case, check out the info Amnesty International has pulled together: http://www.amnestyusa.org/
I got involved in Troy's fight because a friend of mine who worked with me for the House of Representatives at the State House knows Troy personally, and has personally combed through the documentation of his legal battles. It was talking with her that got me interested.
When word came that his life was in danger (again), a lot of people got ready for another round of fighting. I didn't think I'd be involved until I read the letter that Troy sent my friend, dated March 10, 2009:
Thank you so much for your lovely letter. It was nice to hear from you. I pray that you, family and friends are all doing well despite the stress from the Economy.
Personally, I'm holding up okay. They have another execution tonight for Bob Newland. The Parole Board refused to hear his case.
How did your finals turn out? I'm sure you did well. Are you still having bad dreams about being in my situation?
Maybe you're worried too much about my situation. Read Mark 11:22-24. Positive thinking can increase your faith. Don't dwell on the things you pray for, just give them to God and believe He'll take care of them.
Congratulations of getting a perfect grade doing your paper about my case. Say hi to your classmates and Professors for me.
The biggest problem with my case is the Anti-Terrorism/Death Penalty law prevents my new evidence from being heard. I htink the Judges know I'm innocent but decided to hide behind the law instead of helping correct this injustice.
As long as people are willing to stand up and fight, changes will be made to right every wrong. You'll be one of those people who force a change and soon. Keep learning, keep praying, keep believing and never stop fighting for True Justice.
I'm proud of you being a Straight A student. Your parents have done a great job and I know they are proud as well.
Don't let the road blocks of this System slow you down. Just push them out of the way. Fighting for what you believe in isn't easy and some of those close to you may disagree. Stand firm Ashley.
Troy may be about to die, and people like you are the ones on his mind. People like you are the ones he believes need encouragement. So here's your encouragement.
It'll take half a minute to do what they ask you to do. Just sign your name to tell Governor Perdue that people outside his state are watching. Use Amnesty's words, use your own, sign your name, whatever.
But do something. You think this won't work. But it has worked, and for Troy specifically. He is alive right now because people like you know his name, know his case, and care what happens to him.
Do it again. Do it now.