UPDATE: Check below for info on the Oct 23 rally in NYC.
After granting Troy Anthony Davis a stay of execution on September 23 in order to decide whether or not to consider his case, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected his appeal last Tuesday. Georgia has scheduled Davis’ execution for 7pm on October 27, 2008 – next Monday, one week from today.
I’ve been meaning to blog about this news since hearing it last Tuesday, but I think I’ve been avoiding writing about it until today. Troy Davis’ case has really gotten to me; over the past week it’s been difficult to think, talk, or try to write about his situation with beginning to cry. I know it’s important to stay hopeful and keep fighting, but it’s been difficult to muster much hope. This case has only decreased my already minimal faith in getting any true justice out of the American system. It defies logic that so many judicial bodies, right up through the U.S. Supreme Court, have failed to step in and assert that even just a shadow of a doubt should be enough to prevent an ultimate and immutable sentence of death from being carried out. In this case, with seven out of nine non-police witnesses recanting their testimony, far more than a shadow of doubt has been cast – and yet all of these authorities that have had the opportunity to intercede seem content to let this man die.
In trying to understand what twisted logic or legal technicality the U.S. Supreme Court followed in denying review of Davis’ case, I turned to SCOTUS Blog for further details and analysis. Unfortunately, they reported that “in denying review on Tuesday, the Supreme Court gave no explanation, as is its custom with such denials.” SCOTUS Blog also supplied this rather disturbing information:
In appealing to the Supreme Court, Davis’ lawyers urged the Court to issue a definitive ruling — something it had only assumed previously — that the Eighth Amendment creates a right of an innocent person not to be executed.
In this country that claims such civility and advanced morality, it hasn’t even been officially established that one has the right to not be executed if they are innocent. It boggles the mind.
But despite the daunting odds against Troy Davis, despite how utterly Davis and his supporters have been let down by just about every institution that purports to deliver justice in this nation, we can’t just let ourselves be sickened to the point that we give up hope and thereby give up the fight. Troy Davis is only one person, only one life out of the many lives on the brink on death row, but his life is essential, his life is precious, and his life demands a continued struggle. The disgust and disbelief and frustration that we feel at what’s happened in Davis’ case so far must be channeled intensely over the next week so that we might save his life and pave the way to saving many more lives in the future.
- Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (GFADP) and Amnesty International are calling for a Global Day of Action on October 23 (this Thursday.) For people who can get to Atlanta, there will be a rally from 6-8pm on the front steps of the State Capitol (see this flyer for details.) People elsewhere can help to organize a solidarity event in their own towns and cities or contact Amnesty International to find out what might already be planned.
- UPDATE: A NYC rally is being organized by Amnesty International for Thursday, October 23, 5:30pm at the southeast corner of 33rd St and 8th Ave.
- Write letters to the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles and the governor of Georgia
- Write a letter to the editor of your local newspapers about Davis’ case. You can use a handy online tool from the ACLU or send it on your own; Amnesty International provides tips for writing your letter.
- GFADP suggests writing a letter to the physician whose company has a contract with the Georgia Department of Corrections to participate in executions. See the GFADP website for info.
- Check the GFADP and AI websites for updates and more ways to take action.
Remember: this isn’t only about saving Troy Davis’ life; this is also about making sure that no one else ever finds themselves in the situation that he’s in. If you have time to take action in any or all of these ways this week, please do.
Cross-posted at Feministe