USA: Troy Davis Gets Day in Court to Present Evidence of Innocence in Murder Case

Press Release
June 22, 2010

USA: Troy Davis Gets Day in Court to Present Evidence of Innocence in Murder Case

With Case Against Him Unraveled, Troy Davis Gets Day in Court to Present Evidence of Innocence in Murder Case

June 22, 2010

Statement of Larry Cox, executive director, Amnesty International USA, in advance of the opening of the Troy Davis evidentiary hearing in federal court in Savannah, Georgia.

"This hearing is both historic and unprecedented. Never before has the U.S. Supreme Court ordered a hearing to determine if it is unconstitutional to execute someone who is innocent. While this hearing is of the utmost importance to Davis and the entire Savannah community, it also carries great legal significance."

"Following his conviction in 1991, the case against Davis has unraveled, with seven of the nine witnesses recanting or contradicting their original testimony. After spending 19 years on death row and facing three execution dates, Davis has been given an opportunity to present evidence pointing to his innocence in a court of law."

"This is a momentous opportunity that Amnesty International worked for and welcomes. But the burden of proof has been turned on its head. The court has set a very high bar: rather than 'innocent until proven guilty,' Davis must clearly prove he is innocent."

"With 138 death row prisoners having been exonerated since 1973, it is more than a possibility that innocent people will be executed in the United States. It is inevitable in a broken system. The justice system should therefore be especially concerned with cases like Davis."

"Even as truth and justice are sought, we cannot forget the tragedy of a life lost. Mark Allen MacPhail was the innocent victim of a terrible murder. It is important to remember that the Savannah community lost a brave public servant, and acknowledge Officer MacPhail's family during this difficult time. It is our sincere hope that this hearing will shed more truth on what happened the night of his murder and that justice will finally be served."

Amnesty International has campaigned globally for justice in the Davis case. Organization observers will be present in the courtroom this week, as will campaigners from France and the United Kingdom. Activists affiliated with AIUSA, the NAACP and other organizations will hold a vigil in Wright Square Park, near the courthouse during the hearing.

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 2.8 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.

Please visit www.amnestyusa.org for more information.